Date: From 16 September 2019 to 27 September 2019
The situation of child HIV care in West and Central Africa
In West and Central Africa, 7 out of 10 children living with HIV do not receive appropriate treatment because they have not been tested. This region has the lowest pediatric coverage in the world. It is estimated that without early diagnosis and therefore without access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART), up to 50% of children living with HIV die before their second birthday, with a peak in mortality between 2 and 3 months.
The POC EID
The POC EID, or Point of Care Early Infant Diagnosis, is a method that aims to increase access to early detection of HIV in infants. It makes it possible to make the results of HIV tests available in or near the establishment where the child is receiving care, thus reducing the time and costs of execution.
The mission – Senegal, Dakar (September 2019)
As part of a collaboration with UNICEF, WCARO and IRESSEF, IQLS participated in a project aimed at strengthening laboratory systems and POC (Point of Care) diagnostics in each of the ten participating countries.
The project started with a week of training in Dakar in June to train IRESSEF professionals to use the assessment tool developed and adapted by IQLS.
At the beginning of July 2019, IQLS consultants accompanied by IRESSEF trained staff, and IRESSEF in-country consultant conducted a laboratory system and facility capacity assessment with a focus on HIV POCs testing in three countries (Ghana, Mali and Chad).
IQLS consultants included Dr Abdoulaye Nikièma, Ms. Beatrice Vanderpuije and Mr. Louis Koyange.
Following the assessment, Dr Abdoulaye Nikièma and Dr. Obert Kachuwaire, IQLS senior lab specialists, along with a rich panel of experts from several organizations facilitated a 2 week workshop on laboratory system strengthening and the scale up of the implementation of HIV EID Point of care testing services in West and Central Africa in Saly, Senegal.
The establishment of a diagnosis was only the first step of the UNICEF mission, afterwards an action plan is to be implemented through concrete measures to strengthen the POC systems of each country.
The long-term objective is to allow better diagnosis, better care and better monitoring of people with HIV and AIDS.