Addis Ababa, November 7, 2022 — On November 4, 2022, the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), donated 126 cutting-edge GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) testing machines worth U.S. $3 million (157.7 million Birr) to the people of Ethiopia. Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, handed over the 126 GeneXpert machines to Ethiopia’s honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse, at St. Peter’s Tuberculosis Hospital.
The 126 GeneXpert machines given on Friday will make a significant contribution towards the government of Ethiopia’s efforts to quickly and effectively identify and diagnose TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases. These new machines reduce the time it takes to diagnose TB from two days to two hours and from two months to two hours for MDR-TB.
“As long-standing partners with the Government of Ethiopia in the fight against tuberculosis, the American people are proud to provide these GeneXpert machines to help accelerate tuberculosis elimination efforts in Ethiopia,” Ambassador Jacobson said during her remarks.
TB is the leading cause of death from infectious diseases globally, and Ethiopia is among the 30 countries worldwide with the highest burden of tuberculosis and TB/HIV co-infection. In Ethiopia, TB caused 19,000 deaths in 2021 alone, which amounts to nearly three Ethiopians dying from TB every hour of every day.
Dr. Lia noted, “The support of the 126 ten-colored GeneXpert machines that we are receiving today from USAID will hugely contribute to narrowing the access gap to rapid molecular TB diagnostics in the country.”
Since early 2000, USAID has provided comprehensive support to the Government of Ethiopia to detect and treat TB and MDR-TB cases. With continued support from the United States and other development stakeholders, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, significant progress has been made in reducing the impact of TB and MDR-TB from 421 per 100,000 to 132 per 100,000 population between 2000 and 2020. There is still much work to be done to reach the global goal of eliminating TB by 2035. The objective is to find and successfully treat 90 percent of TB and MDR-TB cases every year in Ethiopia.
The donation of these cutting-edge TB testing machines is part of an American investment of over $5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance in the last five years alone.