Margaret Kenyatta, the First Lady of Kenya was recently accompanied by Isaura Nyus, her Mozambican counterpart for commissioning the PoCEID (Point of Care Early Infant Diagnosis) technology at JOOTRH (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital) in Kisumu. Soon after commissioning the new facility, the Kenyan First Lady introduced the National Point of Care Technologies Roadmap. Under this mission, millions of newly born babies throughout the region would be able to obtain access to the new HIV testing technology named PoCEID.

According to sources, immense efforts have been taken by the NASCOP (National Aids and STI control Programme) and Ministry of Health as they have adopted the new PoCEID technology for HIV testing purposes. PoCEID is expected to offer immediate results that will help healthcare professionals administer life-saving antiretroviral treatment to newborn babies exposed to HIV virus.

Demand for PoCEID Technology over PCR Method

PoCEID technology is basically replacing PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing utilized for detecting antigens in blood and the results under PCR testing technique come out only after 4-10 days. According to Dr. Peter Okoth, Chief Executive Officer of JOOTRH, PCR technology irregularly falsifies results for newborn babies soon after picking antigens of the mother. Yet, till date, HIV testing has been done for newborn babies under PCR technology at KEMRI laboratories, located at Kisian, 15kms away from JOOTRH.

Launch of Second Medical Safari of Beyond Zero

The Kenyan First Lady and her Mozambican counterpart were in Kisumu for launching the second Medical Safari of Beyond Zero, which is a new model for healthcare delivery. In this model, medical service providers gather together for offering specified services to the public at their designated locations. Medical Safari is a three-day camp, which is held at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground. Unveiling of Kisumu County eMTCT (Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission) and the National POCEID roadmap was done at the venue. The eMTCT framework helps fast track collective action for addressing challenges of AIDS and HIV in the region, where disease prevalence has been indicated as nearing 8.7%.

Development of such medical camps and innovative technologies would benefit in bringing healthcare services and providers closer to women as well as their families, in order to cater to the crucial health challenges that they experience. These free-of-charge medical camps also help in guaranteeing safe delivery along with immunization of babies and registration of kids experiencing disabilities. These efforts are expected to gear up towards significant contribution in Universal Health Care in the long run.

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