20 October 2013

Rapid HIV Testing in Solomon Islands makes Nurse June Happy

Meet Nurse June Tavalia. She is the one of the nurses that works in Ruve Clinic, which is located on the outskirts of Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Ruve Clinc is one of the clinics where UNICEF HIV & AIDS programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health HIV & STI Unit in the Solomon Islands has successfully introduced point of care HIV testing and counseling using rapid tests for ANC (ante-natal clinic) clients.

 Nurse consulting with a mother who has given birth
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Ali

"Before rapid test was introduced to us here at the clinic," says Nurse June, "we had a lot of work to do to make sure that our mothers were able to test for HIV. We had to collect blood, take blood to the lab and collect results from the lab all by ourselves and at times, at our own expense. Sometimes, by the time results were given back by the lab, mothers would have already delivered or even moved to another clinic because they fear about their test results.  So, it becomes really really hard to find them."

Clients seeking information and services at the clinic
© UNICEF Pacific/2013/Ali

"Now, since we started using rapid tests, it is very easy for me. We can do the pre-test and post-test counselling at the same time and mothers really like it because they do not have to wait for so long for their results anymore. This way, we are not losing our mothers to other clinics. It is also very good for us nurses since we do not spend so much time going to the lab to follow up on results. When I talk to the mother’s now, they are really happy to be tested and anxious to know their results especially to know that their babies are safe. I have noticed this especially with the mothers who know that their partners are not being faithful. I still need to do more work to bring the partners to the clinic but I feel really satisfied because at least I know I am able to improve my services for these women. I really enjoy this work and am happy when I get support and advice from UNICEF and Ministry of Health to improve the services here for the mothers."

To date, UNICEF has provided capacity building support to June, such as exposure to regional training and trained on PPTCT (Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission) and use of rapid tests.

Thank you and good luck, Nurse June!

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