Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BBC: Mobile technology fights HIV

Two weeks ago, the BBC featured a story highlighting a Ugandan health clinic led by Dr. Paul Williams that is using promising new technology for HIV treatment and monitoring, one that has the capacity to improve HIV care in rural communities in developing countries. 

The PointCare NOW, is an automated, portable device with the capacity to obtain hematology parameters and CD4 t-cell counts within 8 minutes, drastically reduce the need for costly reagents, and avoid time-intensive follow up clinic visits for patients in order for them to get updates on their immune functioning and receive related adherence and risk reduction counseling.

Before we had this machine, we'd see somebody in the clinic, then we'd have to see them on another day to collect a blood sample," said Dr Williams. 

We had a system of motorcycle riders that went round all of our outreach sites on a particular day to collect samples. They would have to ride for four hours along a muddy road through the impenetrable Forest, to a laboratory on the other side, where we could get them tested. 

It took us three days to get the result, and we couldn't get it back to the patient until we saw them again two weeks later. 

Now, with this simple piece of technology, we can deal with problems immediately.

With technological advances like these, the potential to reach remote communities with state of the science treatment and monitoring for HIV disease offers real promise for reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality.
Now our death rates from HIV are very low We're able to diagnose it early, manage it early and keep people living with HIV fit and well," says Williams.

Source: Mobile technology battles HIV. Victoria Gill, BBC News, 4/12/09. 

No comments: