Delft supports Zambia’s Journey to Better Health

With an estimated 60,000 people diagnosed with TB, Zambia is a high-burden TB country with more than 9000 potentially missing persons with TB. Among those diagnosed are more than 8000 children, the future of their nation.

Ahead of the curve, Zambia has been a pioneer in the use of digital X-rays. They are also one of the earliest users of computer-aided detection for tuberculosis software, CAD4TB. Delft Imaging has been fortunate to have been a part of their battle against the disease.

Delft Imaging first lent a hand to ease Zambia’s TB burden in 2009. Later, in 2011, we installed the first version of CAD4TB there. Over the years, various non-profits like Zambart and CIDRZ utilised Delft Imaging’s Mobile Clinics to boost their screening efforts in Zambia.

In 2018, under the ChallengeTB project, we provided EasyDR, a multi-functional digital X-ray system, and CAD4TB software to FHI360, another non-profit organisation. With KNCV as a prime partner and host of the project management unit, the project was proven to be successful. The number of DR-TB treatment sites in Zambia was subsequently increased from 2 to 30 by 2019.

Soon after, in 2019, we helped assist PATH, a trusted non-profit, in their TB case-finding mission. Delft’s OneStopTB Mobile Clinic was deployed to screen 30 TB hotspots across Copperbelt, Zambia’s highest TB burden province. After introducing the Mobile Clinic, the TB notifications in the province increased by 49%.

In recent years, CIDRZ procured 3 portable digital X-ray systems in backpacks (Delft Light) to support its regional TB screening efforts.

Making a difference

Over the years, several partners have published multiple studies discussing their efforts discussing the impact of Delft’s solutions in Zambia.

According to a 2014 study, CAD4TB can potentially be used as a point-of-care test for the automated identification of presumed TB cases. This was further explored in a later study, in 2017, that found that chest x-rays, coupled with CAD4TB could lead to early detection of the disease. This was critical specially in cases wherein the patient is yet to display any symptoms.

The untapped potential of CAD4TB was further explore. According to a study conducted in 2014, the use of digital CXR, with CAD4TB, can increase the availability and use of chest radiography in TB screening in remote areas.

PATH’s implementation of the OneStopTB clinic and its utilisation was also a talking-point at the 52nd Union Conference where PATH Zambia presented a paper, aptly titled “Intensified TB case finding in Copperbelt Province, Zambia: Contribution of Mobile One-Stop TB Clinic.”