Ethiopia Gets GeneXpert TB Testing Machines worth $3mln from USAID

Ethiopian health ministry has received 126 cutting-edge GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) testing machines support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The total value of the TB testing machines is worth $3 million (157.7 million Birr), according to the agency.

Ambassador Tracey Jacobson, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, handed over the GeneXpert machines to health minister Dr. Lia Tadesse during their tour to St Peters TB specialized Hospital last Friday.

The machines are expected to boost public health facilities’ capacity to quickly and effectively identify and diagnose TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases.

The use of the rapid test Xpert is recommended by the WHO as it simultaneously detects TB and resistance to rifampicin, the most important TB medicine.

The GeneXpert test reduces the time it takes to diagnose TB from two days to two hours and from two months to two hours for MDR-TB.

The ministry of health plans to deploy at least one GeneXpert machine in each of Ethiopia’s nearly 1000 woredas as part of its five year TB Prevention strategy.

Including the newly acquired ones, there are 502 GeneXpert testing machines in the public health facilities in Ethiopia.

The latest 126 ten-colored GeneXpert machines support from USAID “will hugely contribute to narrowing the access gap to rapid molecular TB diagnostics in the country,” said health minister Dr. Lia.

Ethiopia has recently made significant progress in reducing the prevalence of tuberculosis with the TB and MDR-TB incidence rate falling from 421 per 100,000 in the year 2000 to 132 per 100,000 in 2020.

There is, however, much work to be done to reach the global goal of eliminating TB by 2035. The objective is to find and successfully treat 90 percent of TB and MDR-TB cases every year in Ethiopia.

“As long-standing partners with the Government of Ethiopia in the fight against tuberculosis, the American people are proud to provide these GeneXpert machines to help accelerate tuberculosis elimination efforts in Ethiopia,” Ambassador Jacobson said at the handover ceremony.

Despite recent progress, the East african nation is still among the 30 countries worldwide with the highest burden of tuberculosis and TB/HIV co-infection.

An estimated 19,000 people died from the disease in Ethiopia last year.


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