THE Ministry of Health recently received three Digital Mobile X-Rays from the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project to improve TB service delivery.
The machines are expected to improve the TB treatment in rural areas where cases have in the past gone undetected due to lack of resources.
Of all the current reported cases, 46 percent were detected last year. As of 2017, there were at least 700 TB cases per 100 000 population. The figures make Lesotho only the second, after South Africa in first, on the 30 high-burden TB countries in the world as classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Commutations officer, Hlazo Mkandawire, yesterday said it is vital to find the undetected cases to address the country’s high TB burden.
“The Digital Mobile X-Rays will also be used in the national TB prevalence survey that will begin in July,” Mr Mkandawire said.
“There are three Digital Mobile X-Rays consisting of two trucks and one van, all fully equipped with X-ray machines, solar panels and a generator.”
The Ministry of Health National TB Manager, Llang Maama said the equipment would facilitate a comprehensive and innovative approach to finding the missing TB cases. Dr Maama said the equipment would also bring services to the communities and empower them to respond to the calls for early TB diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
“The arrival of the Digital Mobile X-rays gives us hope that the TB prevalence survey will happen.
“Beyond that, the X-rays will be used to conduct community-based case finding interventions to find all existing TB cases and eliminate TB as a public health threat,” Dr Maama said.
She further said that the Digital Mobile X-rays have additional systems which will assist in TB diagnosis called CAD4TB system.
CAD4TB is a software designed to help non-experts detect and diagnose TB more accurately and cost-effectively. Digital X-rays combined with machine learning and remote expertise make CAD4TB a valuable asset in the fight against TB.
Dr Maama said: “This is able to give colour coding that can ease the process of reading the X-rays by the clinicians”.
“The X-Rays will also play a critical role in the community-based TB project that will serve as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Community based TB care under the SATBHSS project.
“Mounting of the equipment on the Digital Mobile X-rays is said to be excellent and the equipment is of good quality. Additional safety measures will be implemented to stabilise the unit on the trucks and the van and to strengthen the wheels by doubling them at the rear.”
Dr Maama said the drivers will soon be deployed to ensure that the Digital Mobile X-rays begin finding the missing TB cases and also conducting the national TB prevalence survey in Lesotho.