USAID offers donations to help Việt Nam close TB detection and treatment gaps

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USAID Vietnam Mission Director Ann Marie Yastishock and National Lung Hospital Director Dr. Nguyễn Viết Nhung attend the handover ceremony held at the hospital on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in Hà Nội

HÀ NỘI — The US Agency for International Development (USAID) delivered new tuberculosis (TB) detection tools and treatment medications valued at roughly US$3 million for Việt Nam on Wednesday.

The donations were given to the National Lung Hospital of Việt Nam in support of the country’s goal to end TB by 2030.

Included are 38 rapid diagnostic machines with 90,000 compatible test kits and 10 digital X-ray devices, the US Embassy in Hà Nội said on Wednesday.

They will be distributed to district health facilities across the country, including in the provinces of Nghệ An, Lai Châu, An Giang, and Đồng Tháp, which have a high burden of TB and multidrug-resistant TB.

Both the rapid diagnostic machines and the X-ray devices are designed to operate in hard-to-reach areas. The rapid diagnostic machines, called Truenat, can perform on-the-spot detection of TB and drug-resistant TB in less than two hours and are battery-powered.

The digital X-ray devices are ultra-portable, with computer-aided TB detection software to assist in areas where radiologists may not be present.

The donation also includes drugs to treat 15,000 patients with latent TB infection for three months, to be distributed nationwide.

USAID is also funding a tailored package of training curricula and technical support to the National Tuberculosis Programme, health facility staff, and local partners. This will help ensure greater sustainability of efforts to enhance Việt Nam’s active case detection, ensure accurate and timely diagnosis, and support linkages to the treatment of active and latent TB.

The new diagnostic equipment and treatment medications support Việt Nam’s National Tuberculosis Programme’s “Double X” strategy to improve TB case detection and increase uptake of TB preventive therapy in our joint effort to end TB in the country.

In 2019, Việt Nam developed a national action plan to end TB by 2030. In order to achieve the objectives, besides strengthening current interventions, Việt Nam must harness new technology and innovation including double X (chest x-ray and GeneXpert) which is a very important innovation to increase detection of TB.

Việt Nam is among the 30 countries with the highest burden of TB. WHO estimated that a total of 174,000 people in the country had developed TB with some 11,000 deaths by 2018.

USAID is also supporting the integration of TB screening within Việt Nam’s COVID-19 vaccination campaigns given the impacts of the pandemic on TB care and services.

Since 2018, USAID has provided Việt Nam with over $16 million in TB health assistance.

USAID will continue to support the introduction of the latest high-impact TB technologies and treatment medications as part of the ongoing partnership and solidarity between the United States and Việt Nam. — VNS

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