APOPO at annual conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For a second year in a row, meetings and active campaigns to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day have been very restricted due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

In Ethiopia, the consortium of the Federal Ministry of Health, Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) and Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau (AACAHB) gave TB due attention by holding the 15th TB Research Advisory Council Annual Conference with limited participant numbers and following stringent Covid-19 preventative measures.

The meeting started with high-level key-note addresses and speeches from the TB Research Advisory Council (TRAC) Chairman, Heads and representatives of AHRI, AACAHB, USAID, the German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief association (GLRA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and its National TB Program. The importance of increasing efforts to combat TB in these challenging times and using integrated approaches to tackling TB and Covid-19 was a central theme of the opening remarks.

The opening was followed by technical presentations on MDR-TB, TB/HIV and other co-infections, innovations in TB diagnosis, TB in congregate settings, and cross-cutting issues in TB. Presentation and discussion sessions provided an excellent platform for bringing TB research and public health communities together and for exchange between junior and senior researchers.

APOPO – through the AHRI-APOPO TB research project in Ethiopia – was honoured to present. Our program manager and country representative Dr. Negussie Beyene presented on “Improved TB & HIV Screening in Ethiopian Prisons: Lessons Learnt in Phase I”.

The TB & HIV Screening in Ethiopia was a joint project between APOPO, AHRI, the Ethiopian chapter of the GLRA, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Federal Prison Administration, funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). The project was successfully conducted despite the emergence of Covid-19, and offered TB and HIV screening to over 45,000 members of the prison population (inmates and staff) of 26 prisons, who are particularly vulnerable to TB.

APOPO TB Ethiopia is deeply grateful to the health authorities  and funding partners for their continued support.