Health Ministry clears yearlong backlog of HIV tests for babies

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The Health Ministry has successfully cleared off the yearlong backlog of 109 HIV tests for babies. These tests are available for babies whose mothers are HIV positive.

The results are used to track the state of mother to child transmission in Guyana.

“We’ve had some challenges with not having reagents to test babies; if their mothers are HIV positive, normally we’ll take a sample and test it in the lab to just make sure that these babies are not infected with HIV. For more than a year, we weren’t able to do those testing. We have now brought in all the reagents, we have started testing and we have cleared whatever backlog there was,” Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said during an interview with the Department of Public Information on Wednesday.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony [Photo: News Room/September 24, 2020]
As a result, any child who is positive will now be identified and treated for the virus.

In his 2020 national budget presentation, the Minister criticised his predecessor, noting that samples from 109 babies were taken for testing but were left “sitting in the lab.” 

Further, the Minister said antiretroviral or ARVs were sourced from Brazil and Suriname following a shortage.

“At least we have ARVs to treat our patients right now. This would give us a period by which we should be able to get in those we have on order,” Dr Anthony said.

HIV kits which were also in short supply were brought into the country.

The Government in its 2020 budget, allocated $3.2B to remedy a drug shortage in the public healthcare system.

 

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