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New technology to improve diagnosis of TB

Human Diagnostics Worldwide member, Lerch Wolfgang (R) demonstrating how the TB Lamp works as Acting Assistant Commissioner National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Divison, Ministry of Health’s Dr. Stavia Turyahabwe and Human Diagostics Uganda CEO, Zakayo Ronald Wantanda looks at the workshop and launch of TB Lamp at Hotel Africana. (PML Daily PHOTO)

KAMPALA – A new method for detecting Tuberculosis has been introduced in Uganda, with experts vowing to eliminate the killer disease.

Human Diagnostics Uganda Limited (HDUL) in partnership with its parent company Human Diagnostics Worldwide launched the new TB Lamp molecular method for detection of the Mycobacterium on Thursday in Kampala. The new method was recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 to replace smear microscopy.

Speaking at the launch at Hotel Africana, Kampala, Dr Stavia Turyahabwe, the acting assistant commissioner in-charge of national tuberculosis and leprosy, said the new technology is a big boost to the target of eliminating TB.

“The humane-loop machine is a game changer because it eliminates chances of missing out on detecting TB in patients. Unlike in the past where we had cases of failure to identify the disease, this method addresses that gap,” she said.

Apart from its efficiency, the new device is also user-friendly, according to Aloysius Matte from the Mbarara University department of medical lab and sciences.

“This new method can be used by anyone, even those in remote areas. I have just been taken through the practical demonstration and am good to go,” he noted. “It’s robustness and high sensitivity also makes it an excellent solution to improve the HIV-associated TB diagnosis in urban and remote areas,” he added.

The one day launch involved presentations and discussions with participants being given opportunity to share perspectives from their own experiences.

Tuberculosis prevalence in Uganda stands at 330 cases of all forms and 136 new smear-positive cases per 100,000 people per year. These numbers make rank Uganda 16th among the 22 TB high burden countries.

As the fight against the killer disease rages on, hitches like misdiagnosis are holding back the Global End- TB strategy which aims at reducing deaths by 95% and new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035.

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