Guinea, Kankan: decentralization of the access to viral load testing, an essential test for HIV-infected patients’ follow-up
The Kankan region is a 2-day drive from Conakry and HIV-infected patients under antiretroviral treatment have to travel to Conakry or Bamako (Mali) to perform their viral load tests: a key indicator of HIV treatment effectiveness.
The viral load test is a marker of therapeutic success when it is undetectable. It also helps to identify failing patients and the need to strengthen adherence and / or change their treatment.
Main challenges: decentralize the access to viral load testing at Kankan Regional Hospital
From May 7 to 10, 2018, the Guinean Ministry of Health represented by the National HIV Program (PNP-CSP) and Solthis conducted a joint mission to Kankan as part of the OPP-ERA project. The purpose of this mission was to evaluate the existing potential to operationalize open and polyvalent platforms (OPP) used by the project OPP-ERA to perform viral load tests, and to discuss a timeline for starting activities at the Kankan regional hospital. The mission allowed to suggest a management plan for the future molecular biology laboratory, test and validate the open platform installed in 2015, and to produce a series of recommendations for an effective launch of viral load testing activities.
The main challenge for the opening of this new molecular biology laboratory is related mostly to the funding of the laboratory layout and to continuous availability of electricity. In order to overcome these difficulties, several scenarios have been discussed, mostly renewable energy supply solutions - solar panels - have been put forward. Anthony BILLAUD, OPP-ERA project leader in Guinea.