Access to the Tuberculosis diagnostics and treatment programme in the southern region of Ethiopia

January 16, 2012 - Wolayta (Ethiopia)


The project to fight tuberculosis, started by the Inter Aide association and with the support of Fondation Mérieux and the Europeen Union, is structured around the following three axes:

  • to make the population aware of tuberculosis infection and of the conditions of access to diagnostics and care;
  • to facilitate access to diagnostics;
  • to improve the quality of microscopic tuberculosis diagnosis at health centre level.

The agreement signed with Fondation Mérieux in June 2008 allowed for work to start, in Wolayta, situated in the rural southern region of Ethiopia, on the following actions:

  • to facilitate access to diagnostics through the strengthening of the reference system for suspicious cases and through the opening of peripheral sputum collection sites,
  • to improve the quality of service of microscopic diagnosis through the opening of new microscopic sites and
  • to strengthen the training of laboratory staff in health centres.

This model has allowed for some remarkable results:

  • A substantial improvement of laboratory efficiency, with 22 microscopes, equipment and reagent as well as the training of more than 50 laboratory technicians;
  • The setting up of 19 advanced sputum collection sites, for the first time in this area, benefitting 1,284 identified people, with 201 case of tuberculosis found;
  • A spectacular rise in the number of identified cases, in the Wolayta region and part of Dawro, an increase of 125% in contagious tuberculosis detection;
  • A considerable reduction of time between symptoms appearing and diagnosis and treatment in the health centre, which went from 75 days in 2006 to 34 days in 2009;
  • A decline in the mortality rate, from 7% to 3% in the same period.

An inquiry was carried out in to the clinical evolution of loss in the course of the diagnosis procedure.

An abstract of this study was presented during the ’42nd Union World Conference on Lung Health’’ at Lille (France) in October 2011.