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TB testing rolling out slowly

April 9, 2013

African Press International (API)

CAPE TOWN,  – South Africa will expand its rollout of GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) testing machines, which can diagnose TB and drug-resistant TB within 90 minutes, but concerns remain about the capacity to back up this commitment with supplies and treatment. 

The country is the largest buyer of GeneXpert technology in the world, but the machines have not yet become point-of-care tests and are often deployed at district rather than clinic level. Nonetheless, they have shaved weeks off waiting times for patients because samples no longer have to be transported to and from national referral hospitals kilometres away for diagnosis.

At the opening of the TB Vaccines Third Global Forum in Cape Town on 25 March, Precious Matsoso, director general of the South African Department of Health, announced that an additional 135 machines will be imported by the end of 2013. The GeneXpert was released in 2010 and South…

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