Health clerks wrong to approve Aids kits

Government awarded a R22,5 million tender for HIV kits that had been blacklisted kits.

SD Bioline HIV Testing Kit. Picture: Standard Diagnostics, Inc.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday said junior officials who decided to award a tender for faulty HIV testing kits should have consulted him first.

Earlier in July, Eyewitness News revealed how government awarded a R22.5 million tender for the blacklisted kits.

Motsoaledi said he believed the junior officials "should have elevated this matter to the level of the minister and the director-general."

He added: "We are the only ones who should have taken the decision on what to do in view of the discrepancy between the National institute of Communicable Diseases and the Health Health Organisation."

The World Health Organisation confirmed that the SD Bioline testing kits remained blacklisted.

A task team has subsequently been appointed to investigate the tender, which was awarded by National Treasury in March.

Government paid for the supply of 4.5 million of the HIV testing kits in question.

Distribution of the kits to public health facilities started in April.

The testing kits are reported to reveal incorrect results and have been in use in hospitals and clinics for years.

The revelations prompted Motsoaledi to immediately ban the use of the testing kits.

Government started an investigation into the matter a week ago.

They looked at whether some of the officials involved in the tender process were misled about the status of SD Bioline.