By Robert Burny | Country Program Manager, APOPO TB Mozambique

Flanders for the fight against COVID-19.

APOPO is thrilled to announce that the Government of Flanders has approved a new grant of €600,000 for APOPO TB Mozambique. This vital support from Flanders will not only fill the funding gap for our TB program in Mozambique until the end 2021; but excitingly, with this grant, APOPO can expand its diagnostic services to include Covid-19 detection in Maputo City, Matola, and Marracuene in Southern Mozambique while maintaining TB testing services in Maputo city.

This new project will be carried out in partnerships with the Mozambican National Health institute (INS) and the University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM). The project will draw on past experience with rapid TB diagnostic services and community action, on our established laboratory infrastructure including molecular testing (GeneXpert) capacity, as well as our motivated and qualified team in Maputo.

This project will serve over 26,000 people with either Covid-19 or TB detection services or both. The throughput and overall numbers will depend on the demand, as well as the number of molecular testing cartridges for the COVID-19 causing virus that are available in the setting.

Another purpose of this project is to find out whether Covid-19 detection can be accelerated, and more people can be reached by the pooling of samples of different individuals – without compromising on the quality of the test. Another research is to find out if results remain accurate after heat-inactivation (i.e. making samples safe). This would allow to minimize the need for personal protective equipment and ease the sample processing methods.

In the current Covid-19 pandemic, testing is key. At the same time, it is crucially important to keep up services for tuberculosis, which are impacted by this newer pandemic and respective precautions. We are thus extremely grateful to the Government of Flanders who have provided uninterrupted supported for our Mozambique program since 2012! This support from Flanders will allow APOPO to tackle the old and the new health challenge at the same time as well as expand our services to Southern Mozambique.

Useful Links:

Read the announcement from Flanders

More info on Covid from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Read more on using existing testing platforms for Covid-19 detection 

APOPO TB Mozambique thanks the Mozambican health authorities, our partner
and the Government of Flanders in Belgium for their vital support.