Training on GeneXpert Machine Operation and Maintenance for Laboratory Personnel to be carried out to fight TB

A three-day training on GeneXpert Machine Operation and Maintenance for Laboratory Personnel will be held in Thimphu from 6th to 8th August 2019. The training course is jointly organized by the Ministry of Health and the SAARC TB and HIV/AIDS Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The primary objective of the training is to equip laboratory staffs with the knowledge and skills required in operating GeneXpert Machine and performing Xpert MTB/RIF Assay. The training also aims to learn about the global updates on recommended technologies to strengthen case finding, to set-up and install GeneXpert machine, to demonstrate accurate results and interpretation and to exhibit acceptable competency in troubleshooting Xpert MTB/RIF.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in the SAARC region. As per the national TB control program, an estimated 50 percent of the population in the region is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

This region has an estimated annual incidence of 3.7 mn equivalent to 212 cases/100,000 carries which accounts to 37 percent of the global burden of TB incidence.

In addition, the Drug Resistance (DR) TB is a major challenge in the SAARC region. In 2017, there were 101,198 estimated cases of Multidrug Resistant (MDR) TB cases among the notified pulmonary TB cases.

Therefore, all the countries in the SAARC region are accelerating their efforts in improving TB case detection and enhancing the capacity to diagnose MDR-TB to achieve the End TB targets by 2030. Several new diagnostic tools were made available to detect TB earlier.

The sources from Ministry of Health (MoH) said that the most important revolutionary tool that has changed the diagnostic landscape of TB diagnosis is the GeneXpert MTB/RIF which will find out if a person is infected with TB and also if the TB bacterium of the person has resistance to one of the first line TB drugs.

In Bhutan, there are six GeneXpert machines installed at high TB burden districts and two additional machines will be installed soon at Trashigang and Trongsa. Thus, this particular training is highly relevant and timely for Bhutan. “The training would enhance our capacity for early diagnosis, reduce the risk of poor treatment outcomes and TB transmission in the community”, said that source.

The opening session of the three days training will be graced by  Health Minister, WHO and SAARC, SDF Representatives and other Senior Government officials from the Ministry of Health. Media houses are invited to cover the opening session of the training course.

Participants from Seven SARRC Member States will be attending the training along with resource persons from STAC and National TB Reference Laboratory, Royal Center for Disease Control Program, Ministry of Health, Thimphu.

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