The BMJ nominated us winners for the
“Getting Evidence into Practice”
The TB Diagnostics Lab was the very first project that I became involved in at International Medical Foundation, back in 2007. I remember being approached almost every day by Dr. Mark Russell (a VSO volunteer) who wanted to do something for the many HIV/AIDS patients that he was needing to treat for TB. He had come across a new diagnostic method, *MOT – MODS, that had recently been used in Peru and he thought it would be perfect for Africa; and so it began.
Dr. Ian Clarke offered some space and building resources for a new lab at International Hospital Kampala and agreed that Bosco, one of the hospital’s microbiologists, could allocate some of his time to working with Mark.
I had just started Suubi Trust and agreed that we would raise the £15,000 that was needed to equip the new lab.
The lab was opened on Wednesday August 1st, 2007.
In Q4 2007, Dr. Grania, also from VSO, took over from Mark and started to work with Bosco and the IHK team to perform the clinical trail to validate the methodology and local processes. Early in 2008 this trail received a huge boost when the team secured additional funding from Target TB.
In 2009 Dr. Richard, VSO, joined the team and helped Dr. Edith and Bosco to complete the trial. In August 2009 he helped to train local volunteers, CATTS as we started Phase 2 of the programme, with a particular focus on treatment in the community.
Then in March 2011 we heard that we had been shortlisted for the BMJ award.
It’s been a great team effort. On hearing the news Grania said: “The TB team at IHK should be very proud of themselves, they have worked very hard and its great that their hard work has been publicly recognised.”
Dr. Richard and his wife Pat were able to attend and collect the award:
“This award is for all the Ugandan volunteer workers and village health workers who worked so hard with us to improve the lot of their community. In a land where this is so much unemployment and pitiful wages this a completely different ‘Big Society’ “
This is a programme that we can all be very proud of. For me it was great to be involved at the very start. Thanks to Mark and the original Suubi Trust sponsors who helped to get us started. Thanks to Target TB for its support of the clinical trial. Thanks to VSO for encouraging doctors to come here and help.
Most of all thanks to Bosco, Edith and the Touch Namuwongo team for the daily implementation of health education, preventative measures, diagnostics and treatment, which is making a huge difference in the lives of those living with HIV/AIDs and TB.
*Microscopic Observed Technique (MOT) is a low-technology, low cost ($5) liquid culture-based methodology performed directly on sputum samples to diagnose Tuberculosis. It is simple to implement, especially in the developing world, and the programme is now run by Ugandan doctors, clinical officers, TB nurses and an increasing number of trained volunteers. This has led to increased rates of diagnosis and treatment of TB, and opening the doors to better management of TB not only in Uganda but across Sub-Saharan Africa.