Harare — THE number of people living with HIV and Aids who seek free anti-retroviral therapy will increase following the procurement of CD4 Count machines by the National Aids Council.
The machines, acquired by funds from the Global Fund to Fight HIV and Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, were handed over to 13 districts by NAC last week.
A CD4 Count machine analyses the progression of the HIV and determines whether a person needs ARVs.
In Zimbabwe a person can only be put on ARV therapy if their blood count is below 200 CD4 Count.
It's estimated that there are more than 300 000 people living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe and 86 000 of them are already on ARV therapy.
The procurement of the machines would mean that more people would have their CD4 Count done to enable them to acquire ARVs.
Speaking during a handover ceremony of 13 CD4 Count machines to various Global Fund districts in the country last week, board member Mr Delma Lupepe said previously there were only five districts rolling out free ARVs.
Recently the Global Fund added 10 more districts to the previous 12 sites.
"The recent procurement of 13 CD4 Count machines will see all the 22 identified Global fund sites rolling out ARVs," Mr Lepepe said.
Binga and Bulilima in Matebelaland received two machines while the remaining 11 will be distributed equally to other sites. The addition of more districts by the Global Fund would assist Government to cater for a larger population of people living with HIV and Aids.
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, who is also the chairman of the GFATM country co-ordinating mechanism, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said people living with HIV and Aids no longer needed to travel long distances for CD4 count testing since all the equipment, drugs and medical personnel were now guaranteed.
"You no longer need to travel long distance to undergo CD4 count testing. We have brought you the drugs, equipment as well as manpower," Dr Parirenyatwa said.
He said the Global Fund was also assisting most doctors in district hospitals with salary top-ups as retention fees.
Government was hoping that the Extended Supported Programme of assisting health personnel would extend to all districts in the country so as to retain more professionals, Dr Parirenyatwa said.