United States helps Vietnam close tuberculosis detection and treatment gaps

February 17, 2022 | 20:14
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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on February 16 delivered new tuberculosis (TB) detection tools and medications valued at roughly $3 million to the National Lung Hospital of Vietnam.
United States helps Vietnam close tuberculosis detection and treatment gaps
The handover ceremony

The donation includes 38 rapid diagnostic machines with 90,000 compatible test kits and 10 digital x-ray devices to be distributed to district health facilities across the country. These will include the remote provinces of Nghe An, Lai Chau, An Giang, and Dong Thap, which suffer from high levels of TB and its multidrug-resistant form.

Both machines are designed to operate in hard-to-reach areas. The diagnostic machines, called Truenat, can perform on-the-spot detection of both forms of the disease in less than two hours and are battery-powered. The digital x-ray devices are ultra-portable, with computer-aided detection software to assist in areas where radiologists may not be present.

The donation also includes drugs to treat 15,000 patients with latent TB infection for three months, to be distributed nationwide. In addition, USAID is funding a tailored package of training curricula and technical support to the National Tuberculosis Programme, health-facility staff, and local partners. This will help ensure greater sustainability to enhance Vietnam’s active case detection, accurate and timely diagnosis, and support the treatment of both active and latent TB.

In Vietnam, approximately 40 per cent of new cases go undetected and untreated every year. The new diagnostic equipment and medications delivered today directly support Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis Programme’s Double-X strategy to improve detection and increase the uptake of preventive therapy in their joint effort to end the disease in Vietnam.

TB is preventable and curable. Yet every year in Vietnam, 172,000 people develop it and more than 10,000 people die as a result, placing Vietnam among the top 30 countries with the highest TB burden in the world. The impacts of the pandemic have severely reduced care and services, with detection in Vietnam decreasing by 23.5 per cent in the first 10 months of 2021.

To address this, USAID is also supporting the integration of screening within Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Since 2018, USAID has provided Vietnam with over $16 million in TB health assistance. In continued partnership with the government, today’s donation demonstrates USAID’s steadfast support to achieve its goals by 2030.

USAID will continue to support the introduction of the latest high-impact TB technologies and treatment medications as part of the ongoing partnership and solidarity between the United States and Vietnam.

By Bich Thuy

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