UTH bans indiscriminate HIV testing

UNIVERSITY Teaching Hospital management has banned the indiscriminate testing for HIV.

UTH managing director Lackson Kasonka said management demanded for an immediate stop to the practice after it was informed that some patients were being tested for HIV without their prior knowledge by organisations which were training psycho-socio counsellors at the facility.

He said UTH being a teaching hospital, worked with different organisations as partners in the field of health research and training as was the case when the involuntary HIV testing was being conducted.

“It came to our attention that one of our partners involved in training of counsellors was testing patients for HIV without prior counseling as required, and we have since put a stop to the practice and we are trying to re-engage the procedure through the original practice of Voluntary Counseling and Testing as it is known,” Dr Kasonka said.

He was speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation after receiving various items donated by Airtel Zambia managing director Charity Lumpa to the Mother’s Shelter at the hospital.

Earlier, Dr Kasonka called for increased private participation in the operations of the hospital to help create a more suitable environment for patients and their minders.

Dr Kasonka said such support to the shelter was necessary to help alleviate pressure endured by those living at the facility as they looked after patients mostly admitted to the neo-natal wards at the institution.

“We hope this move by Airtel will encourage other corporate partners still standing on the fence to come forward and lend a helping hand towards the running and operations of UTH,” he said.

He explained that various construction programmes currently underway around the hospital grounds were meant to help improve delivery of service at the facility, but that more assistance was needed to help ease the life of patients and their minders especially during admission.

And the Airtel boss, Ms Lumpa explained that her team had identified the mothers’ shelter as a recipient of the donation in trying to make the long stay at the facility as comfortable as possible.

Ms Lumpa said with the various works at the hospital, it had become prudent to provide some support to the hospital in its daily operations to ease operations.    Among the items donated included a four plate cooker, some pots and several baby blankets, some mealie meal bags, sugar, several detergents and bath soaps as well as disinfectants.

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