Ethiopia’s use of OneStopTB Clinics with EasyDr digital X-ray and CAD4TB has significantly enhanced TB screening, especially in pastoralist communities. This approach demonstrates a marked increase in TB case detection, highlighting the effectiveness of combining AI with traditional screening methods. Discover how this innovative strategy is transforming TB detection and treatment in Ethiopia.

Photo credit: Joney // Source: Daniel Datiko Gemechu’s “Introduction of AI-mounted digital X-rays in pastoralist TB programming: experience from Ethiopia” // Location: Ethiopia

Ethiopia introduced OneStopTB vans equipped with EasyDr stationary digital X-ray and CAD4TB to improve access to highly sensitive TB screening with digital X-rays in settings with a limited workforce to read radiologic examinations.

Four vans were deployed to pastoralist communities. The preliminary performance (July to December 2021) showed that 5,435 people were reached, 3,749 (69%) were screened using AI, and 1,016 (27%) were identified as suggestive of TB by CAD4TB and underwent GeneXpert test. 167 (16.4%) were confirmed with TB, of which 119 (11.7%) were Bac+ and 46 (4.5%) were clinically diagnosed.

In the past 18 months (2022 to 2023), the performance of the AI-mounted vans showed that the TB screening number increased significantly, reaching over 19,000 people. 8,981 (47%) were screened by CAD4TB, and 4,810 (25%) were tested by GeneXpert, of which 843 were positive.

The results suggest that when symptom screening and GeneXpert are used, the chance of finding MTB positive would be 4%, while introducing AI/CAD increased the chance to 9%, and combining symptom screening, AI/CAD, and GeneXpert increased it to 18%. Introducing AI improves screening quality and saves resources to find more TB cases in the communities.

This evidence raises interest in Ethiopia to expand the use of AI at more health facilities. Key strategies are strengthening national capacity, generating more local evidence, and increasing partnership and engagement.

REFERENCE: Datiko, D. G. (2023, November 15-18). Introduction of AI-mounted digital X-rays in pastoralist TB programming: experience from Ethiopia [Conference session]. The Union World Conference on Lung Health 2023, Paris, France.