APOPO Mozambique supports Maputo City Health authorities

During  World TB week activities and beyond.

Leading up to World Tuberculosis Day on March 24th, the Ministry of Health in Mozambique organized a week of events based on the annual theme “IT’S TIME” (to end TB) and APOPO actively participated to support the National TB control program (NTP).

Firstly, on March 18th, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi challenged the Mozambican health sector and its partners to commit to eradicating tuberculosis by 2030. Speaking in Maputo at the launch of a campaign titled “National Dialogue on Tuberculosis”, H.E. Nyusi described the disease as a public health problem that all areas of society should fight against.

The National TB dialogue supported by Stop TB partnership, USAID and the World Health Organization (WHO), was an innovative opportunity to stimulate the engagement and involvement of celebrities and other public figures but also renowned individuals from the private sector.

Secondly, during the week the NTP of Maputo city organized TB sensitization and screening events in order to spread awareness and enable testing of tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.

Three main events took place: on Sunday March 24 the main event was organized in Catembe close to the harbor, on Wednesday March 27 another at the Nova Aliança soccer field close to Xipamanine health center and on Thursday March 28 at the Zimpeto market, next to the health center. These events gave the health authorities a unique opportunity to mobilize the community and to ease-in testing “on-the-spot” as the prevalence study testing truck was present at each location.

In total, it was estimated that more than 400 people participated over the course of the 3 days with about 200 people testing for lung disease in the prevalence truck (X-ray), including 144 who tested for TB according to signs and symptoms they presented. These presumptive patients were required to cough up sputum into a cup which was sent to the APOPO facility for screening in order to boost the capacity of the national prevalence truck with its mobile and limited GeneXpert platform. From the 144 presumptive TB patients tested, two new TB cases were confirmed.

The third series of TB sensitization and screening events are targeting government institutions; they started during world TB week and will continue throughout the year. From late March to end of April, the National Institute of Social Security, the Maputo city Health Directorate and two reference hospitals, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Employment, Labor and Social Security, the Maputo city Education Directorate all took part in TB screening campaigns. These involved health talks directed at the public servants, encouraging and offering them to get tested, also providing instructions and sputum pots for the ones with signs and symptoms. More than 160 samples were collected and processed in this way, but no new TB patients were found.

In parallel, APOPO also supported Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) by testing presumptive TB-patients at their new reference center for hepatitis and injecting drug users in Mafalala neighborhood. 60 samples were collected and evaluated; from those two new TB patients were confirmed to MSF who quickly got them on treatment.

APOPO maintains its commitment to support Maputo city health authorities with awareness-raising and screening campaigns. Although the number of new patients that were identified were not significant, the value of advocacy, communication and social mobilization is increasingly valued in TB control strategies.

APOPO TB Mozambique would like to recognize the partnership and commitment of our
donors and partners whose generous support make our life-saving work possible.