The SD HIV and Syphilis test kits are rapid diagnostic kits for the simultaneous prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
The results with the kits could be obtained within 20 minutes.
Dr Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, received the items on behalf of the First Lady, and President of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), Mrs Lordina Mahama, who is the Founder of the Lordina Foundation.
Ms Zeina Henaine, ALERE Social Responsibility Ambassador for Africa, who presented the items, commended the First Lady for her hard work and dedication in ensuring the welfare of women and children in less privilege areas.
She said using a dual screening test for HIV and syphilis would permit an efficient extension of maternal care services and support healthcare capacity.
She said the presentation formed part of a pledge made by the ALERE Group to members of OAFLA in New York last year, following recognition that more than one million women and families had to face the trauma of repeated pregnancy loss, stillbirth or children born infected with and suffering from HIV and syphilis.
Ms Henaine said apart from their role as OAFLA members, the First Ladies had their individual projects which they executed in their respective countries, hence the need to support their efforts.
She said HIV and syphilis were the major public health problem affecting women and their newborn infants in the world, and that 90 per cent of HIV infections among children were from mother-to -child transmission during pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding.
Ms Henaine said pregnant women infected with syphilis might transmit the disease to their unborn child and that although syphilis was easily curable with penicillin, unlike HIV which is routinely tested in pregnant women, there are no mandatory tests carried out for syphilis among pregnant women.
She said when syphilis was detected earlier; its treatment in the early stage of pregnancy could lead to the prevention of congenial syphilis, stillbirth or premature births.
The First Lady in a speech read on her behalf by Dr El-Adas, said the incorporation of both HIV and syphilis tests in a single kit had many advantages, in that it would save the use of needles and blood volume, eliminate the need for laboratory personnel or infrastructure, as well as decrease testing period and at the same time lower the overall cost of testing.
She said using a dual screening test for HIV and syphilis would also reduce testing duplications, labour time, logistics fee, storage space as it did not require electricity or power equipment.
Mrs Mahama said the Standard Diagnostics (SD) HIV/syphilis duo test kits were “indeed one of a kind as they could detect HIV and Syphilis with the same specimen using a single device”.
She said like many other members of OAFLA, Ghana had benefitted first hand from those kits which were for use “during our elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) outreaches conducted throughout the country”.
The elimination of mother-to-child transmission outreaches was aimed at bringing services to the communities using an integrated health approach.
“With the donation from ALERE, we can now move from two different kits for HIV/Syphilis to a single test kit. Our clients will access HIV and syphilis testing services at a single point instead of moving from one source point to another”, she said.
Mrs Mahama said it took quite a while to receive Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) approval for the test kits, and commended the Ministry of Health for the effort they put in to ensure that the proper checks were done to authenticate the items which were delivered by ALERE to OAFLA Ghana Chapter since November, 2015.
She expressed her appreciation to ALERE for providing the innovative kits, and appealed to them to increase the allocation delivered to Ghana to support its first 90 campaign to test six million people over the next 12 months.
By Lydia Asamoah, GNA