The Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM) and ISGlobal, an institution supported by the “la Caixa” Foundation, have obtained funding from the STOP TB Partnership to increase the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in Manhiça, a region with high disease burden. It is one of the 38 projects selected (from more than 530 applications reviewed) in the fifth edition of TB REACH, a call that funds innovative projects aimed at improving TB detection and care services. Last week, the coordinators of the selected projects gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, to plan the implementation and discuss the evaluation process.
TB incidence in Southern Mozambique is high, and the number of cases is not decreasing despite efforts to control the disease. One of the major risk factors for developing TB is infection by HIV. In Manhiça, 40% of adults ages 18 to 47 are HIV-positive, and more than 70% of HIV patients are co-infected with TB.
These numbers are most likely an underestimation, since the detection rate of TB in the country is very low, around 38%. This is partly due to the fact that a large proportion of the populaton lives in rural areas with limited access to health care services.
The project proposes to increase the number of TB diagnosis by implementing active case finding in the region. “The idea” explains Alberto García-Basteiro, project coordinator, “is to optimize the screening of close contacts of TB patients, based on the patient’s infectivity and the population density of the neighbourhood”. We will offer door-to-door screening to avoid them the direct and indirect costs of going to the health facility.” The researchers will use a new molecular diagnosis tool, Xpert Ultra, which has been recently validated as a highly sensitive test for TB detection.
The Stop TB Partnership works towards a world without tuberculosis, a disease that still kills three persons every minute. Founded in 2001, its mission is to serve every person vulnerable to TB and ensure that high-quality diagnosis, treatment and care is available to all those who need it. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, it coordinates 7 working groups focusing on TB diagnosis and treatment; R&D in new diagnosis, drugs and vaccines; and tackling drug-resistant TB and HIV-associated TB. Funds for this TB Reach call are provided by the Canadian government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.