A CD 4 count machine which had been stolen from Uganda Cares, Soroti Anti-Retroviral Therapy Clinic at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has been recovered.
Stephen Kaija, the OC CID Soroti, says the machine was recovered yesterday by police following a tip off in Orwadai, suburb near Soroti municipality.
He confirmed the machine had been found in the house of a man who was now in custody.
Kaija told The New vision on Sunday in his office: “The machine was covered under his bed. We are still interrogating the suspects to find out how the plan was hatched and where the machine was to be sold.”
He added that even as the machine has been recovered, seven suspects remain in custody as investigations continue.
The CD4 machine was stolen from Soroti Hospital on Good Friday.
A CD4 count machine is important for HIV and AIDS care and treatment since it allows doctors to know when to start patients on life-saving therapy.
For a patient with HIV infection, CD4 counts help determine the stage of infection, guide drug choices and indicate the patient’s response to treatment and disease progression.
Dr.Gilbert Sangadi, the medical officer in charge of the Uganda Cares Soroti clinic, said the recovery of the CD4 machine was a big relief. He asked clients who were supposed to have been tested and missed out after the machine was stolen to go for their routine CD4 count check.
“Over the last nine days, more than 400 HIV patients who were due for CD4 count test missed out. I want to ask all those who missed the CD4 count to come and we run their CD4 count”, Dr.Sangadi said.
Uganda Cares Soroti centre serves over 7,500 clients.
According to a July 2011 report by local authorities, the HIV prevalence has gone up in Soroti, now standing at 6.2 %. This has risen by more than 2 % since 2005, when prevalence stood at 4.3%.
Among other factors, the rise was attributed to excessive alcohol consumption leading to high risk sexual behaviour and reluctance to use condoms.
The national census of 2002 estimated the district’s population to be approximately 193,300, of whom 51.2 % are female and 48.8% are male.
The district population growth rate was estimated at 2.8% annually. It is estimated that in 2010, the population of Soroti district was approximately 241,200.