NACO fails to provide Viral Load Testing Machine despite lapse of Manipur High Court order

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IMPHAL, November 16: Despite a Manipur High Court direction March 21 this year for the NACO to install a Viral Load Testing Machine at the RIMS Hospital within a period of three months from the date of the order, the concern authorities of the NACO still have not complied and the machine still remains uninstalled at the hospital.

As per the concern authorities of RIMS and MACS after the directive of Manipur High Court a delegate from NACO had come to Imphal during June 3 to 5 2014 and gave the assurance to the MACS and RIMS authorities the installation kits for the Viral Load Testing Machine would be provided at the soonest.

They had also sent the maker of the machine ROCHE Company, to send technicians to give training to MACS and RIMS for using machine. The RIMS is also the recommended designated labs for NE states except Assam and Sikkim for Viral Load testing machine.

After three month of the Manipur High Court’s order, volunteers of Community Network for Empowerment, CoNE met the Microbiology official of RIMS and MACS several times to nudge them to speed up the process of installing the machine. Unfortunately there has not be any favourable response so far and the machine continues to remain uninstalled, CoNE president RK Nalinikanta said.

He said CoNE has since served another legal notice to the concerned authorities of the two institutions to have the Viral Load Testing Machine installed.

The CoNE spokesman said MACS and RIMS authorities informed the organisation they are most willing to install the machine but NACO has not issued any official notification letter and or sent the promised installation kit for the machine.

Nalinikanta said CoNE has also submitted a reminder to the NACO highlighting the numerous issues faced by the PLHIV in the State and the additional problem the non availability of the machine has caused.

He said that Viral Load Testing Machine or Polymerase Chain Reaction machine is needed for the confirmation that a patient undergoing ART treatment no longer responding positively to the treatment.

In the past the State used to send blood sample of patients to NICED lab Kolkata for Viral Load Testing. Unfortunately this has also been stopped from June of this year.

The State at this moment has 60 patients waiting for Viral Load Testing. Among them 45 patients are old cases and 15 are new.

The attitude of the NACO has demoralised PLHIV patients in the State, and they feel discriminated, Nalinikanta said. Against such insensitivity, the Government of India’s target of zero new infection, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related death, is destined end in embarrassing failure, he said.

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