Grant for pilot early detection of tuberculosis in Mozambique, 2011

Duration: 2011-2012

Budget: 590.695

Through this pilot project, APOPO intends to accelerate the detection of tuberculosis in Mozambique and subsequently reduce the spread of this disease.

Duration and budget

This pilot project will last for one and a half years. If the project is evaluated positively, APOPO will launch a second phase which will consist of an increase in scale of the action. The grant amounts to 590,695 euros.

Problem definition

In comparison with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world, Mozambique is faced with a high number of TB infections. Just like in other African countries, co-infection with HIV is an important factor. In Mozambique, more than 60% of the screened TB patients are infected with the HIV virus.

Despite all the efforts that have been made to control tuberculosis in Mozambique, one of the biggest challenges in combating this rapidly spreading disease is still to increase the TB detection rate. This is mainly owing to the lack of a simple, fast and accurate diagnostic method.

Practical implementation

Several regions in Mozambique have insufficient basic health care, let alone specialised equipment for the detection of TB. For this reason, the organisation APOPO started to examine the possibility of developing the most accurate possible detection system with a minimum of equipment.

After a few years of testing, APOPO succeeded in training African giant pouched rats in the detection of tuberculosis. This initiative is based on the successful precedent for which APOPO trains and uses these rats for the detection of land mines. Since 2002, the Government of Flanders has allocated grants to APOPO for its mine detection programme in Mozambique.

The method, developed by APOPO, can be rapidly and easily used to detect tuberculosis in large numbers of human saliva samples. In Tanzania, APOPO has proven to raise the detection rate of the local TB clinics it cooperates with by 44%. This technology will now be used to considerably improve the detection rate in Maputo and the rest of Mozambique in the short term. This will slow down the rapid spread of tuberculosis in this part of the world.

During the first phase (January 2012 - May 2013) of the project, APOPO will establish an operational TB detection capacity, while the project managers and trainers will receive the required training and the necessary infrastructure will be installed.

If the pilot project is evaluated positively, APOPO will launch a second phase which will encompass an increase in scale of the action. In addition, work will be done to consolidate the rat detection capacity and conduct clinical and epidemiological studies in order to optimise the quality of the work