ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has received a donation of 46 cutting-edge tuberculosis (TB) testing machines from the United states.
The machines, which USAID estimates to be worth US$1 million, will help the government’s effort to reduce the time it takes to diagnose TB across the country from two days to two hours.
USAID signed a statement of partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health to accelerate our joint effort to end TB in 2019, and this donation is part of USAID’s commitment to supporting the people of Ethiopia to find and successfully treat ninety percent of TB cases nationwide—the first step to eliminating the disease all together.
Although treatable and preventable, TB currently kills 24,000 people per year in Ethiopia, which amounts to nearly 3 deaths every hour.
Worldwide, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS).
In 2019, WHO reported that an estimated 10 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis (TB) worldwide. 5.6 million men, 3.2 million women and 1.2 million children.
At least 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of new TB cases. Eight countries account for two thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. A global total of 206 030 people with multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB) were detected and notified in 2019, a 10% increase from 186 883 in 2018.
Even so, an estimated 60 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2019, speaking to the relevance of prompt TB testing.
Today, epidemiologists estimate that there are roughly 160,000 cases of TB across Ethiopia. In addition to reducing the time it takes to diagnose TB from two days to two hours, the 46 new machines are also more accurate than routine, microscope-based methods
The GeneXpert Tuberculosis Diagnostic Machines were handed over by the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Geeta Pasi, to Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse, at the Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Agency Compound.
“Our long-standing partnership with US AID and other USG mechanisms in our TB programming will be further strengthened to jointly address the key challenges in our TB program up to its elimination,” she said.