Newstime Africa (06.01.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Starting this week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)—a US-based nonprofit organization—and Ghana’s national, regional, and district TB programs will partner on a 15-month TB REACH intervention to improve TB detection in five of Ghana’s Western Regions: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan, Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ellembelle District, and Jomoro District. The TB REACH project focuses on “enhanced coordination and monitoring among stakeholders,” building capacity of TB diagnostic centers, mobilizing communities and “cough screening,” and TB screening with a GeneXpert MTB/RIF machine. The team expects to reach 317,000 Ghanaian residents with mobile testing through the GeneXpert-equipped TB diagnostic van.
IOM selected the region because it borders Cote d’Ivoire and hosts two refugee camps, has an influx of Ghanaian migrants who are drawn by mining and petroleum work, and has vulnerable urban populations, according to Dyane Epstein, IOM chief of mission in Ghana. The Canadian International Development Agency funds TB REACH, and the World Health Organization (WHO) leads the program. WHO reported that TB incidence in Ghana was 79 persons per 100,000 and TB prevalence was 92 per 100,000 persons in 2011, with a 78-percent “national detection rate of all forms of TB.”
Dr. Aden Guliye, head of the IOM Ghana Migration Health Unit, expected the project to triple the case detection rate in the area and contribute to TB control. The effort also should help direct services to vulnerable populations, according to Dr. Frank Bonsu, program manager of Ghana’s National Tuberculosis Control Program.