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USAID donates 86,500 tuberculosis diagnostic equipment to Nigeria

USAID donates 86,500 tuberculosis diagnostic equipment to Nigeria
February 08
17:07 2021

The United States agency for international development (USAID), has donated some 86,500 GeneXpert Ultra cartridges to Nigeria’s national tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy control program.

USAID, in a statement, on Monday, said these equipment were donated in the closing days of 2020 to be used for the testing and diagnosis of more than 10,000 patients suspected of having the disease in the country.

It said the equipment had increased sensitivity which would help Nigerian health workers make effective use of tuberculosis diagnosis tools and improve detection of TB in people living with HIV/AIDS.

“The donation of 86,500 “GeneXpert Ultra” cartridges will help Nigerian health workers to optimize the use of molecular diagnosis tools that can detect both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant forms of TB, and improve detection of TB in people living with HIV/AIDS,” the statement read.

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“The Ultra cartridge has significantly increased sensitivity of the GeneXpert machine compared to standard cartridges, especially in patients who show low numbers of bacteria, such as those with HIV co-infection and in children.

“Since 2015, USAID has donated more than 150 GeneXpert machines to hospitals in Nigeria.  The GeneXpert testing platform improves upon slow and less sensitive conventional diagnostic methods, particularly for HIV-positive patients who are extremely vulnerable to TB.

“Cutting the period of diagnosis from weeks to a matter of hours represents a significant breakthrough in TB diagnosis and supports earlier treatment and better patient outcomes.”

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According to the statement, after the donation, Anne Patterson, USAID mission director, noted that Nigeria has the “highest estimated burden of tuberculosis in all of Africa.”

“With these cartridges, officials tasked with reducing its burden in Nigeria can identify some of the most problematic strains of the TB bacteria,” she added.

USAID said in 2020, it had evaluated more than one million patients for TB, of which almost 80,000 were diagnosed with TB and started on treatment.

It added that it had also established 1,700 TB clinics and 700 microscopy laboratories across 18 states to improve diagnosis and treatment since 2003.

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