No HIV/AIDS testing kits at Diamond Diagnostic Centre

– parliamentary committee told

The Diamond Diagnostic Centre does not have any HIV treatment or testing kits, members of the parliamentary sectoral committee on social services were told during a visit on Thursday.

The disclosure was made by Dr Michael Pereira, who was responding to a question about the availability of treatment by Chair of the committee Dr Vindhya Persaud.

According to Pereira, while the hospital does not have any HIV patients, he has seen patients in the outpatient clinic with the illness.

It was also pointed out that the hospital does not have a Voluntary and Counselling Testing (VCT) office or staff. The committee members were told that the staff left sometime in November and were not replaced.

Dr Vishwa Mahadeo, who is a member of the committee, stressed the danger posed to staff and other patients by the absence of medical kits and VCT services. “I cannot imagine a regional facility does not have treatment… This is a serious concern… staff can get stuck any time and there is nothing here to do tests… safety of staff comes first,” he noted.

Pereira explained that they would have to send patients to the Georgetown Public Hospital for testing, while members of staff would have to exercise caution.

Medical Superintendent Dr Maite Camacho Vazquez said she made a request in writing but to date she has not received any response from the Ministry of Public Health.

The committee pointed out that it is a situation that needs urgent attention.

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