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State plans crackdown on fake test kits

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy - | Thu,Apr 11 2013 00:00:00 EAT
By - | Thu,Apr 11 2013 00:00:00 EAT

By Ally Jamah

Nairobi, Kenya: The Government is planning a major crackdown on fake HIV/Aids testing kits used by backstreet laboratories amid increasing fears that some Kenyans may be receiving wrong results.

Kenya Medical Laboratory Technician and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) charged with validating imported HIV testing kits, sounded the notice yesterday, as the controversy over the quality of HIV testing kits raged.

KMLTTB Chairman Abel Onyango issued a 45-day ultimatum to all institutions using or stocking HIV testing kits and other diagnostic test kits to meet the board threshold or risk closure.

“Under the law, no medical lab should stock, use, handle, distribute or procure any equipment or reagents for use in Kenya unless they have been validated by the body,” he told The Standard.

He added: “The critical threshold for test kits is that they must be accurate, precise and that can only be determined by validation. We have about 60 testing kits that have been validated. The rest would not be allowed”. 

Recently, the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Public Health sought to assure Kenyans testing for HIV that the kits being used are certified and recommended by the WHO, contrary to allegations by some media reports.

Onyango said cases of Kenyans being given wrong lab results by quack laboratory technologists who use fake tests kits and reagents are on the increase. He said a crackdown and surveillance of the HIV test kits in the market was necessary.

KMLTTB will publish the list of 35 suppliers of HIV testing equipment and reagents duly recognised by the Government to guide Kenyans on whom to work with. Estimates indicate hundreds of ‘brief-case’ suppliers of substandard testing kits, which may be responsible for the wrong results.

Onyango said they would soon place certification marks on testing kits to help Kenyans recognise them.

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