Enter your email address here:


Tell us something about yourself:

You don't have to miss a thing

We'll keep you informed about everything which happens at apopo :

project results new baby HeroRATs royal visits awards and prizes special fundraisers research breakthroughs key conferences new success stories ...

To understand how we protect your personal data, and how you can unsubscribe or change your profile, read our privacy policy.

Tackling Tuberculosis in Megacities

Tanzania is one of the world's 30 TB high-burden countries. The case detection rate is low due to the lack of adequate diagnostic methods. Like most developing countries, Tanzania's government clinics rely on microscopy that has a low sensitivity of about 20-60%, meaning many positives are missed. This is made worse by challenging factors such as inadequate funding for training and equipment, power and water cuts, and lack of staff. As a result, only about half of the visiting patients with active TB are diagnosed, leading to further infections and fatalities.

The TB detection program in Tanzania was launched in mid-2007 as a partnership with four government clinics. It has since expanded to 28 collaborating clinics in Dar es Salaam, Coast region and the city of Morogoro. APOPO collects sputum samples that have already been tested by microscopy in the partner clinic labs and retests them using HeroRATs.  Since 2007, the HeroRATs screened over 328,000 sputum samples, thereby identifying over 8,400 positive TB samples that were initially missed by conventional diagnostics like microscopy.

In order to support the process of tracking and treating patients who were found TB positive with the help of the HeroRATs, APOPO established a partnership with two Tanzanian organisations: MKUTA (Mapambano ya Kifua Kikuu na Ukimwi Tanzania) and PASADA (Pastoral Activities and Services for people with AIDs in Dar Es Salaam ARchiocese). Both organisations are composed of volunteers, many of them former TB patients or living with HIV.

Lulu and claudi-pillsLulu works as a MKUTA volunteer and makes sure TB patients start and complete treatment

Once APOPO tells the clinic who they diagnosed with TB, the MKUTA and PASADA volunteers carry out an active search of the patients, including visits to people's homes when they are not reachable by phone. When people with symptoms indicative of TB show up at a clinic, the volunteers make sure they provide a reliable telephone number and physical address that facilitates a later follow-up. Apart from that, they sensitize communities about TB, dispelling stigma and explaining that a fast diagnosis is important to remain healthy and to avoid further infecting family and colleagues.

New TB Center in Dar es Salaam opened end of 2016

Dar es Salaam contributes to more than 20% of the Tanzanian national TB burden. APOPO utilizes its innovative detection technology for the containment of the deadly disease in this emerging African megacity. A HeroRAT can screen 100 sputum samples in just 20 minutes, which would take a skilled lab technician in a public clinic up to 4 days. 

In 2016, APOPO in partnership with the Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA) began the process of transitioning its TB detection program from a 4-5 day diagnostic timeline to a 24-hour timeline by building APOPO’s new TB center in Dar es salaam with a top-notch lab, brand new rat facilities and TB detection rooms. The resulting change is greatly increasing the amount of newly diagnosed patients starting treatment, ultimately enhancing the life saving impact of APOPO.  

The new TB lab in Dar es Salaam was officially opened in November 2016 and will allow APOPO to deliver results to the clinics within 24 hours. This in turn means that all the confirmed patients who return to the clinics for their results the day after their initial appointment will be put on treatment. In 2017, APOPO is planning to expand to cover more than the 28 clinics it currently works with.

APOPO collaborates with Sokoine University of Agriculture, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program (NTLP) and its Central Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (CTRL) to implement stringent quality control measures and to provide refresher training for laboratory personnel. Our donors to the TB program in Tanzania include the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Carraresi Foundation, USAID, and the government of Liechtenstein.

Piuss Mndolwa, Kinondoni Municipal Council

Piuss Mndolwa, Kinondoni Municipal Council

The best way to stop the spread of TB is to not only disseminate information on the symptoms and consequences of the disease but also come up with ways to detect patients more quickly and effectively.

Read more



Discover a multitude of different ways you can support APOPO and the HeroRATs' work in communities affected by landmines and tuberculosis.

Support us now