Antwerp Rotary Clubs support APOPO’s TB detection work in Tanzania

By Dr. Lena Fiebig | APOPO Head of TB

Supporting rapid diagnostic testing for tuberculosis.

The City of Antwerp in Belgium is the place where APOPO started with humble beginnings and set out on its quest to save lives over 22 years ago. Various provinces, cities and the government of Belgium have always been great supporters of APOPO's work and this week Antwerp's citizens rallied together in great support of APOPO’s cause.

APOPO had the honor of being awarded with a district grant from the Antwerp Rotary Clubs of the generous amount of € 20,000 for APOPO’s TB detection work in Tanzania. Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in communities, and in ourselves. 

The cheque was presented during an official ceremony on Wednesday 23 September, near Antwerp in the presence of the chairmen of Rotary Club Antwerp, Antwerp-Schelde and Antwerp-Oost, and APOPO’s Chair of the Board Prof. Dr. Herwig Leirs, APOPO’s Head of TB Dr. Lena Fiebig (middle-right) and the representative of the Antwerp branch of APOPO vzw Esther Haalboom.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the top infectious killer worldwide. 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2019, 1.5 million died of TB, and the World Health Organizations estimates that 2.9 million are missed, i.e., left undiagnosed, untreated or unreported.

The district grant will support APOPO to pursue our TB detection mission in Tanzania and identify additional TB cases. Moreover, the grant will be used as seed funding to embark on a new line of TB research into using other patient samples besides sputum.

Update January 2021: within the project period from July to December 2020, APOPO evaluated samples from 17,092 patients with signs and symptoms of TB and newly diagnosed 881 patients who initially tested negative at the clinics. This raised the TB detection by 40%.

The grant support by the Antwerp Rotary Clubs was crucial and helped APOPO a lot in providing TB detection and linkage-to-care service without interruptions during 2020, a year marked by uncertainties and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

APOPO TB Tanzania is deeply grateful for the generous support from Antwerp Rotary Clubs.

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