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Zambia: Government Cries for Help Over HIV Testing Kits Shortage

The Zambian government on Friday raised an alarm that most of its health institutions in the country had run out of HIV testing kits and so, cries for help from health organizations.

According to Kennedy Lishimpi, the director of clinical care and diagnostic services of the Ministry of Health, assured that the government is expecting a consignment of HIV testing kits before the end of this month and that some health facilities still have enough HIV testing kits that would last about three months.

A local health organization named Churches Health Association of Zambia has offloaded some kits to health institutions with low stocks, said the director, adding that only a few health institutions were short of HIV testing kits.

However, early this week, a consortium of civil society organizations involved in the HIV/AIDSS fight warned that the current shortage of HIV testing kits will have grave consequences on the country’s response to the pandemic.

The coalition, including the Network of Zambian People Living with HIVA/AIDS, the Coalition of Zambian Women Living with HIV/AIDS and the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign etc, expressed concern that recent developments such as delivering expired testing kits to health facilities last month and the expiration of about 500,000 test kits had highlighted Zambia’s poor supply chain management system.

They warned that unless the situation was changed, the community of people living with HIV and AIDS would have no option but to embark on mass action.

Zambia has been among countries in sub-Saharan Africa bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with about 1.3 million people living with the HIV virus.

By Robert Muriisa.

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