Milestones – 2002-2017
In 2002, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago negotiated a partnership with Professor Bartholomew when MRFTT was asked to be the lead clinical site for treatment and care services of HIV in Trinidad and Tobago, with external laboratory support from CAREC. Through this arrangement, anti-retroviral therapy would be also provided for clients.
In the years that would follow, the MRFTT would grow and prosper and the rapidly consistent growth of the clinic population would see a diversification and increase of its services with local and international collaborations.
Recognizing the value of having onsite CD4 and viral load testing prompted the building of the Kevin Babb Laboratory at MRFTT. Commissioned in 2005, the state of the art Laboratory would offer CD4 and Viral Load testing, as well as a suite of other tests including Hepatitis B sAg, Hepatitis B DNA, Hepatitis B eAg, Cryptcoccus Ag, Histoplasma Ab, HTLV-1, Toxoplasma Ab, Lymphocyte extraction for Proviral DNA and HTLV-1 Viral loads, and the processing and transport of HIV drug resistance test samples.
The MRFTT Laboratory continues to strengthen its services and is actively working towards ISO15189 Medical Laboratory Accreditation. The highly qualified laboratory technicians maintain quality standards that ensure reliable results, and on-going training and certification is a key component as this critical service continues to grow and strengthen.
The onsite Pharmaceutical service has maintained the highest quality and standards with the Head Pharmacist actively participating at ministerial level on newest drug options and combinations. Striving to ensure accuracy and service in a timely manner, the pharmacy staff would maintain strict recording systems in order to minimize or prevent stock outs.
Several important projects would be undertaken in the years to follow including the MRFTT collaborating with the Ministry of Health leading to the development of national guidelines including Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and Post exposure prophylaxis guidelines. Early leadership with the PMTCT program led the way for a robust national PMTCT structure that continues today and allows Trinidad and Tobago to maintain its incredibly low HIV-perinatal infection rate.