Fifteen Million Rand Mobile Laboratory for HIV Counselling and Testing on its Way to Cape Town
Following the joint venture between the Western Cape provincial government and the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, the R15 million mobile laboratory for HIV Counselling and Testing is now on its way to the province.
Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, visited the institute in Sulzbach, Germany, in July this year. Since then the project has advanced substantially. The progress finally mounted in the shipment of the mobile laboratory sailing under flags of the MACS Maritime Carrier aboard the "Purple Beach". The ship currently passes the British Channel on its way to Cape Town where it is expected early November.
On arrival, the unloading and customs clearing in Cape Town harbour is an important part of the process. The Western Cape Department of Health has already prepared and tended to the entire customs clearance. From Cape Town Harbour the laboratory will be transferred to the Tygerberg campus.
Excited about the arrival of the shipment, Botha said: "This joint venture is an important opportunity for our province to be part of a global research project on HIV and Aids. It will able the province to make even greater strides in the fight against the virus, and especially in the rural areas - where we have always been challenged by the tyranny of distance."
The state-of-the-art mobile laboratory contains a full biomedical laboratory, a patient area, sample storage facilities, an on-board autoclave, power supply and satellite-linked communications, and will be able to screen forty (40) clients per day, totaling eight thousand (8000) screening tests per year.
The agreement heralds a research partnership between Fraunhofer, the Western Cape Department of Health and University of Stellenbosch. In terms of the agreement the Fraunhofer Institute will facilitate, in cooperation with the German Government, the provision of technical support by German organisations, persons and experts for the general effective operation and maintenance of the mobile laboratory unit while being piloted in the Western Cape.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering [IBMT] is a global leader in the areas of medical biobanking and diagnostic technologies and has a close working relationship with the University of Stellenbosch in respect of cryotechnology and bio-research.
Western Cape Minister for Health