29 February 2016 – The Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM) in Burundi has taken a significant step ahead in the medical treatment it offers to more than 1200 people living with HIV, thanks to the acquisition of a CD4 count machine.

SYM got a Facscount machine thanks to a partnership with FHI360, a US-based human development NGO and PEPFAR and USAID funding. The Facscount machine (pictured above in a Rwanda health centre) measures the CD4 count of people living with HIV to assess immunosuppression. Periodic CD4 testing is an essential diagnostic tool in HIV care, tracking whether a person’s immune strength is going up or down.

Having the Facscount machine at its Martin Royackers clinic in downtown Bujumbura will make a big difference for SYM. Before getting the machine, SYM was authorised to test the CD4 of only 15 persons per week at the national laboratory. This limited number meant that the beneficiaries of SYM – more than 1200 – could not all do this test in the timeframe indicated by the national protocol of treatment for people living with HIV.

Now the SYM has the equipment to increase the number of CD4 count tests so that its beneficiaries will be able to do this test at least twice a year. The team will also save precious time because before they had to transport the samples to the national reference laboratory.

Other local actors will also benefit, including treatment sites like the SOS clinic, Life Clinic of Kinanira and the health centres of Gatumba and Musaga.

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