TB testing Lab up and running
−Eliminates the need for patients to travel back and forth to clinic
DPI, Guyana, Monday, February 3, 2020
Within the last five months, the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTBP) has made a major step in efficiently diagnosing Tuberculosis (TB) cases. This follows the establishment of a laboratory near the Georgetown Chest Clinic, in the GPHC compound.
The laboratory screens patients the same day they are seen by the clinician, as opposed to returning the next day. Previously, test samples were sent to the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPRHL) for processing and this often added to the workload of the facility which could mean deals in the return of results
Other advantages of establishing this new site include early detection of cases, rapid and reliable diagnosis of TB, ensuring patients start effective treatment early, proper monitoring of those undergoing treatment, which in turn leads to reduced transmission in target communities.
The Georgetown Chest Clinic manages the largest number of TB patients, with sixty percent of all cases in the country diagnosed there; making it necessary for laboratory services to be readily available.
According to information coming out of the NTBP Secretariat, the lab services offered specifically include the test that detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and resistance to rifampin (RIF) using the GeneXpert machine as well as sputum microscopy.
The GeneXpert is a molecular technique which diagnoses TB by detecting the presence of the bacteria and simultaneously detects the genetic mutation associated with the drug rifampin. This test is being used to screen patients while the sputum microscopy will assist with monitoring of patients under treatment. Samples requiring drug susceptibility testing will be prepared and forwarded to the NPRHL as with the other 18 sites nationwide
During a recent visit to the lab, Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence and team were apprised by programme Coordinator, Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall on the state of service delivery and expectations for future upgrades to the facility.
Notes: Sputum Microscopy, refers to the microscopic investigation of sputum. This has been shown to be one of the most efficient methods of identifying tuberculosis infection among patients in order to help them start treatment
Rifampicin is considered the most important antibiotic for treating TB