MARA : THE US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided 390 biometric fingerprint devices to Mara and Simiyu regions for the registration of people living with HIV/AIDS so that they can be served efficiently and timely.
The initiative also aims at addressing challenges associated with manual patient identification and data management, such as errors and records duplication.
The devices are part of the implementation of the Afya Kamilifu Project under Amref Tanzania and funded by PERFAR through the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Amref Country Director, Dr Florence Temu noted, “Under PEPFAR-CDC support, we were able to procure the biometric fingerprint devices with a market value of 38,000 US dollars (about 94,810,000/-) for the three regions.
“Mara received 155 devices while Simiyu and Tanga received 135 and 108 devices respectively. The cost of the devices provided in Mara and Simiyu is 20,000.7 US dollars (49,901,746.50m/-).”
In addition, Dr Florence noted that they have trained and built capacity to 362 healthcare providers in Mara Region.
She identified that up to August 9, this year they registered 3,799 clients through biometric registration out of 63,000 (6 per cent), in which Simiyu registered 2,699 out of 40,866 (6 per cent) while Tanga recorded 16,106 out of 62,132 (26 per cent).
Speaking at the handing over event at Tarime Hospital, US CDC Tanzania Country Director Dr Mahesh Swaminathan highlighted that the purpose of the biometric fingerprint module is to address HIV/AIDS programme challenges, including managing duplicates in HIV cases, confirming the actual rate of lost-follow-up cases, determining the actual rate of client retention and unintentionally disclosing HIV client information.
Dr Swaminathan explained that it would be an easy process for a data clerk to enter a number of clients in the system and get accurate data.
By investing in the programme, Tanzania will be able to create a sustainable programme that will help the country control the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, he said.
The PERFAR Country Coordinator, Jessica Greene acknowledged the 20 years achievement of PEPFAR, stressing that such investment is a milestone to ensure the 95-95-95 goals for HIV epidemic control in Tanzania.
She reaffirmed the US government’s commitment to support Tanzania in achieving the 2030 goal, expressing hopes to continue improving the health infrastructures, including building laboratories and training more health providers.
The Mara Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Zabron Masatu thanked PEPFAR-CDC for support through the AfyaKamilifu Project under Amref Tanzania, which handed over 155 biometric fingerprint devices to his region.
“In a very special way, I would like to congratulate the government and our supporters PEPFAR through CDC Tanzania and the stakeholder Amref Health Africa Tanzania, for being at the forefront of improving the health sector through various health projects in this country.
The project will improve the data collection and analysis systems in our centres. This will help us make decisions at the centre and at the regional level. With this technology (biometric) we will solve the challenge of data repetition by identification of new and old clients with HIV. It will therefore reduce errors and duplicate records,” the RMO said.