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Tanzania cuts down TB infection rate - study

A research conducted by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has revealed that the infection rate of tuberculosis in the country has declined.

The observation was made by NIMR Muhimbili Medical Research Centre (MMRC) deputy director Dr Mary Malecella when commemorating the 30th anniversary of NIMR, which was held at the hospital grounds.

She said the research carried out by MMRC was conducted in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTLP) to carry out functions of the Central Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (CTRL), which is also the main tuberculosis research laboratory in the country.

She said MMRC has also participated in a study on randomised controlled trial of multi-micronutrient (MMN) supplementation among pulmonary smear positive TB patients.

She said the results showed that the supplementation of MMN during TB treatment does not only increase weight by 2.4kg but also reduces mortality by 70 percent among HIV-infected tuberculosis patients during treatment.

In view of that, she said there was need for nutritional support for TB patients on treatment for both weight gain and may reduce mortality and considerably increase survival during treatment of sputum positive patients infected with HIV.

Malecella said the centre has participated in studies that have significant policy contribution to TB diagnosis and prevention.

Elaborating, she said a study on the validity of morning spot sputum specimen in the detection of TB patients and effects of delayed processing of the specimens on laboratory results has resulted in shortening of diagnosis time from three days to two days.

She further said that the centre has also participated in conducting studies aiming at intensifying TB case finding within the existing passive case finding as a way of reducing diagnostic delay and cost associated with TB case detection.

Contributed by: Rose Mirondo
Country: Tanzania 
Date: September 23, 2010