Mazini, Swaziland: The World Health Organization (WHO) has handed over a GIS-based patient mapping equipment to the National TB Unit at an event held at the National TB Hospital in Manzini.
The event was attended by the Dr Owen Kaluwa from the WHO, Minister of Health Benedict Xaba, Principal Secretary Dr Steven Shongwe who was also the programme director at the event, TB Program controller Themba Dlamini, URC Rep Dr Johannes and partners of Swaziland Stop TB.
Dr Kaluwa said patient support remained one of the most critical elements of the care for all tuberculosis patients given the lengthy duration of treatment in this disease, mainly in the case of multi-drug resistant cases (MDX).
“Tracking lost patients for follow-ups and re-engaging them could potentially save many lives and curb transmission of TB,” he added.
“Today, technology-driven innovations have proved to be key to overcome some of these challenges, and therefore, offer opportunities to improve patient -centred programming that would increase access to quality treatment and care services. It is on this basis that WHO is glad to contribute to the efforts of the ministry to enhance TB care,” he said.
Dr Kaluwa added through the WHO Global Laboratory Initiative Partnership, diagnostic equipment for mycobacterial culture and Drug Susceptibility Testing (DST), including molecular line probe assay (LPA), had been provided to the National TB reference Laboratory.
The equipment handed over included four units of desk top computers, 10 units of the GIS equipment valued at E150 000.
Dr Kaluwa said he was hopeful that the donation would strengthen the patient tracking and adherence to support mechanism.