Ministry Increasing GeneXpert Machines in Effort to Eliminate TB

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Addis Ababa March 18/2022/ENA/ Ministry of Health disclosed that it is working to enhance the tuberculosis (TB) laboratory capacity of the country by particularly increasing GeneXpert machines that are effective for rapid diagnosis of TB disease and drug resistance.

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GeneXpert is an automated diagnostic test that can identify tuberculosis DNA and resistance to the drug Rifampicin.

Disease Prevention and Control Deputy Director at Ministry of Health, Dr. Taye Letta told ENA that the ministry is working to increase the laboratory capacity of TB diagnosis in Ethiopia.

According to him, the national strategic plan aims to reach each Woreda in Ethiopia with GeneXpert machines.

Currently, there are about 4,000 microscopes and 364 GeneXpert machines across the country.

“We plan to import some 126 GeneXpert machines in the coming Ethiopia year,” he stated.

Dr. Taye said import of the 126 GeneXpert additional machines will enable to reach about half of the Woredas in the country.

“We are also working to reach all the Woredas in the country with the machines in the coming five years.”

One-third of tuberculosis (TB) cases in Ethiopia are missing from care for reasons that are not well studied, studies point out.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the several preventable diseases that remains a heavy burden in Ethiopia, making it one of the 30 high TB burden countries in the world and major cause of death.   

The major causes of TB morbidity and mortality are lack of access to early diagnosis and treatment services, co-infections with other infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and limited capacity to diagnose and manage multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

According to the 2018 global TB report of the World Health Organization, Ethiopia is among countries highly affected by TB epidemics and there were 117,705 TB cases reported in the country, 28,600 died (3600 TB/HIV co-infected); and of the annual 93 million USD needed for TB care and control, the country’s domestic contribution was only 11percent.

USAID, CDC, Global Fund, WHO, other domestic and international organizations are partnering with the government to eliminate TB. 

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