OLORUNSOLA JOHN OLUDAISI with agency report
Kenya is set to implement a three-test HIV testing algorithm as it seeks to optimize ongoing efforts to deal with the virus.
Speaking after he received a preliminary report of a technical task force on the adoption of the procedure, health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the field testing will be piloted in selected counties ahead of the national rollout.
“I congratulate and thank members of the Taskforce for exhibiting professionalism and adhering to WHO recommendations while undertaking the assignment,” said the health CS. According to Kagwe, this is the first time a review of a testing algorithm has been done in the country in strict fidelity to the scientific process defined in a protocol as recommended by WHO and approved by an Ethical Review Committee and the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Speaking during the ceremony, acting director general for health Dr. Patrick Amoth said recommendations of the task force will be implemented as per the protocol and later adopted as the country’s testing algorithm.
Taskforce chairperson Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who is also the acting Head Directorate Preventive and Promotive health, said there was sufficient evidence indicating that the two-test algorithm was not optimal for HIV testing in the country. He said WHO has recommended a shift to a 3-test algorithm for countries with an HIV prevalence of less than 5% with Kenya’s standing at 4.3%
The task force was charged with reviewing performance reports of the current HIV testing algorithm and available evidence to adapt the three-test algorithm as per WHO recommendation. It was also required to contextualize the adaptation process, implementation and feasibility of the three-test algorithm before filing its report to the Director General for Health office.
The adoption of the three-test HIV testing algorithm comes just a week after the ministry of health launched the revised National Guidelines for Treatment and Prevention of HIV. The eleven-member task force which was constituted in March 2022 comprised government officials, technical partners, and research scientists.