Zimbabwe: High tech trucks to carry out targeted TB screening in high-risk communities

The Union is using state-of-the-art mobile screening trucks to carry out much needed outreach services in priority districts during active case finding campaigns for tuberculosis (TB). The new tech trucks will enable teams to screen hard to reach, high risk communities, offering people their results in a reduced turnaround time and ensuring that those diagnosed with TB are quickly referred for treatment and care. 

In June, The Union worked to train teams on the use of the trucks and the innovative equipment on board, such as digital X-rays and a laboratory unit with GeneXpert machines, which will allow for rapid diagnosis of TB. Staff will also provide screening for HIV and diabetes. During the training sessions the team members were coached on the importance of safety precautions and measures necessary for the successful operation of the trucks.

The tech truck initiative has been employed before in order to access hard to reach communities and offer life-saving screening. Talking to The Union, Mr Ndlovu, a 62-year old grandfather from Bulilima, Matabeleland South Province, Zimbabwe said, “One day, as I was having some drinks at our local shop, I saw a big truck and a team that started pitching tents. They had banners that said that they were offering TB screening and so I decided to go and be tested. I was diagnosed with TB, a disease I didn’t realise I had, and I was immediately given treatment. I am so glad that I went for the screening, otherwise I would have been carrying an untreated disease that would have destroyed my life. These trucks offer a lifeline to people who would otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated.”

The trucks have been procured through Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care for targeted TB screening in the most high-risk communities of Harare, thanks to funding from the Global Fund and the United States Agency for International Development through Challenge TB.