Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: U.S Refutes Sabotaging Cyflow Counters

MEDICAL equipment including German made Cy- Flow CD4 count machines will be purchased by American taxpayers' money if the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare approved such products.

United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam said in a statement while responding to the 'Daily News' questions relating to allegations that American influence is delaying government's evaluation and endorsement of CyFlow CD4 count machines made by Partec Essential Health.

"The USG supports the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in the national response to HIV. The MOHSW Laboratory Diagnostic Unit is responsible for evaluating and approving equipment to be used in Tanzania. Once approved the equipment is then supported by USG and other international donors as requested by MOHSW," said the statement.

Currently, only US made FACSCount CD4 machines are exclusively used in all public health facilities in the country although medical doctors argue that CyFlow is the most effective and cheapest technology used by many poor countries.

"Why should we continue using this expensive technology as a monopoly in public hospitals while a cheaper much effective technology is being deliberately barred from the market," wondered retired Chief Government Chemist, Dr Juma Madati.

Dr Madati who was a member of three experts appointed by former Health Minister, Professor David Mwakyusa to investigate allegations by the German company that a 2003 evaluation of CyFlow by the then Muhimbili University College for Health experts was sabotaged, argued that selfish interests are frustrating the exercise.

Dr Madati who wants CyFlow to be used in local public hospitals as it has proved successful in most developing countries pointed out that there is no reason to bar the German made equipment from the country. "Let's have this evaluation done fairly now and allow this technology get used in the country," Dr Madati argued.

But the US which remains one of the largest donors to the country's Ministry of Health, has distanced itself against any influence to keep out CyFlow. "Any other CD4 counters in Tanzania supported by the US government are MOHSW approved equipment. USG's policy is to provide support only to MOHSW-approved equipment," the statement stressed.

The statement noted that the US government supports procurement of equipment and health commodities manufactured from all over the world with procurement based on required product specifications as determined by the MOHSW, industry standard performance parameters, and price.

Partec East Africa Limited Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Khisa said he met with MOHSW officials in Cape Town, South Africa last November, and was requested to visit the country to discuss the subject.

Partec has just signed a contract with the Kenyan government to supply Cy-Flow CD4 counter equipment to all public health centrers in the country. Health Minister, Dr Hussein Mwinyi said recently that the government is looking into the issue of CyFlow seriously.

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