Biography - Sekesai Mtapuri-Zinyowera
All my professional life I learned at the University of Zimbabwe. As from 1991 – 1993 I did General diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology then a specialist in 1995 – 1996. Worked in the laboratory at Harare Central Hospital then in 2002 to 2003 did a Masters Degree in Medical Microbiology. Then in 2004 – 2009 – Did a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the Department of Medical Microbiology where I was a lecturer from 2005 – July 2009. From August 2009 to date I am the Coordinator of the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory which is under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
When the PIMA point-of-care CD4 machine came into the market, we decided to evaluate it to check if it works in the same manner as the conventional machines. In 2010 we did a study at Harare Central Hospital and at Population Services International (PSI). The results were that there was no significant difference between results of this machine and that of the conventional and that both nurses and lab scientist were able to use this machine. We then published a paper in the International Journal of AIDS and it has been one of the most quoted papers when it comes to POC CD4 technologies since it was the first paper to be published on CD4 POCs.
In Zimbabwe people living with HIV and AIDs who required a CD4 cell count test were travelling long distances to centralized places to get the test done, where there will be put on a waiting list. They would travel again on their due date and get a blood sample taken and be told to come back after 2 weeks for results. Sometimes either results would be there or not be there as there could have been a machine break down or reagent stock out and they will be bled again and asked to come back again for results. Transport costs would cause a lot of people not to go for testing at these centralized places.
We at the Ministry then advocated to partners like UNICEF, EGPAF, etc to buy these machines that could be placed at a clinic and their nurse there would carry out the test. To date there are 336 such machines that have been bought assisting people in getting their results after 20 minutes at site. The people are satisfied in that they now no longer have to travel long distances on several occasions to get this test done, no more transport costs and they are getting results after 20 minutes.
An operational research with assistance from UNICEF was done and we found out that the nurses and the patients were satisfied and happy with the presence of these machines at their clinics as they could get their results there and there for their own health and did not need to travel long distances in their state they would be in both physically or financially.
I have been presenting findings at international conferences such as the AIDS conferences including a conference that took place in a remote place in Hunan China. Because of the work we have done Zimbabwe has been chosen to be one of the 4 countries chosen by UNITAID to evaluate any other new technologies that come into the market.
I am passionate in ensuring that patients get a much needed service at their point-of-care.