, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – The government has launched a multi-million shilling project aimed at improving blood collection practices to reduce HIV transmission in health facilities.
National Aids and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) Head Dr Nicholas Muraguri said on Monday that the two-year project would also ensure quality of blood samples taken in health facilities.
He said a study done in 2007 indicated that 2.5 percent of all new HIV infections occurred in healthcare settings through blood drawing, transfusion and injection.
“We know that HIV, hepatitis B and C can easily be spread through blood and that is a risk in the country,” Dr Muraguri said.
He noted that over seven million blood draws were done annually in Kenya out of which 30 percent was later found to contain HIV.
“So we obviously know there is risk of infection and part of this project will be training health workers how to draw blood safely so they don’t prick themselves,” the NASCOP Head said.
He said they would also set up surveillance systems to document the number of health workers who pricked themselves in the line of duty and at the same time understand the circumstances surrounding this.
“This will enable us intervene and have a program that stops completely the risk of people pricking themselves,” Dr Muraguri said.
The Head of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Public Health Dr Willis Akhwale said the project would also enhance health care waste management.
“I know we have been making a lot of improvement but a lot more needs to be done because in terms of environmental management this is a concern,” he said.
He emphasised the need to concentrate on professionalism and improve the quality of tests to avoid wrong diagnosis of patients and lose of confidence in the health system.
The Sh161 million ($2million) project will be funded evenly by US President\’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD).
It targets eight hospitals in Nairobi, Central, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces which include Mbagathi, Nyeri Provincial General, New Nyanza and Nakuru Provincial General hospitals.
The satellite facilities will be Langata health center, Karatina district hospital, Kisumu district hospital and Bahati health center.
The project also intends to train 500 medical workers in the four provinces.
“BD’s training efforts in Kenya will help protect the already short supply of healthcare workers from unnecessary injury and disease exposure, while also helping to assure the quality of blood specimens and ultimately the accuracy of diagnosis,” said BD Global Health Senior Director Renuka Gadde.