On the 2011 budget an amount of EUR 590,695 was already reserved for the trial phase of this pilot project. Therefore, this is the second phase.
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 also 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.
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 trained and used these rats for the detection of land mines. The Government of Flanders has allocated grants to APOPO for its mine detection programme in Mozambique since 2002.
The method 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 in Mozambique to considerably increase the detection rate in the short term. This will slow down the rapid spread of tuberculosis in this part of the world.
With this project APOPO aims to operate on a larger scale, in particular:
1. to extend the coverage by the unit in Maputo to 98% of the samples taken in Maputo (city);
2. to increase the number of diagnosed (and previously missed) patients and refer them to the treatment centres;
3. to design and implement fine-tuned standard procedures in order to
- reduce the time needed to obtain the research result;
- optimise the use of resources;
- lower the costs for each tested sample.