The Union supports at-risk populations through active case finding in DR Congo

The Union DR Congo Office has issued its latest statistics for a project operating active case finding in high risk communities, in collaboration with a network of community-based organisations, community health workers and volunteers.

  • 219,765 people received TB screening in the second year of the project.
  • From February 2015 to September 2016 the project has diagnosed 5,103 patients with tuberculosis (TB).
  • All those diagnosed with TB were referred to the National Programme Against Leprosy and Tuberculosis (NPLT) for treatment. 

The Union DR Congo Office implements active case finding, using a locally owned approach that engages four local NGOs and eight provincial TB coordination centres, which account for more than 30 percent of the country’s population. The local organisations work as partners to carry out outreach activities, TB awareness programmes, contact investigation and the transportation of sputum samples.

Case finding is concentrated in high-risk communities, with a focus on children, people living with HIV, and those living within urban areas and prisons, where rates of TB are higher than average.

The Union and partners also coordinate with private clinics to improve TB screening and diagnosis in the private sector by providing technical assistance, financial support and training to staff, and connecting them to the NTLP.

The Union supports the NTLP in implementing the national strategic plan for TB, strengthening the National TB Reference Laboratory and scaling up the implementation of the nine-month regimen for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

The DR Congo is one of the 30 high burden countries for TB, MDR-TB and TB-HIV, and also has a large number of people going undiagnosed, according to World Health Organization classifications. Approximately 39,000 undiagnosed TB patients are estimated to be living in the eight provinces where The Union is currently working. 

The project is funded under a Challenge TB grant, with The Union DR Congo Office as lead partner of Challenge TB in the DR Congo. Challenge TB is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce the impact of TB in countries with the highest burden.