Conducting research in Mbeya Region has put our institution in the enviable position of understanding the challenges faced by the health system in the region and being able to respond adequately through providing solutions or improving the effectiveness of services.Long distances to health facilities, facilities without laboratories lack of personnel and lack of access to new technologies, all found their answer in the Mobile Diagnostic and Training Centre (MDTC).
Since its inauguration in October 2009, the MDTC provides during the day combined TB/HIV screening , with results available within 24 hours and sensitization sessions on health topics and educative films projected during the evenings. Recently it has expanded its services to include Ca of Cervix screening.
NIMR – MMRC started the Mobile Diagnostic and Training Centre under a four (4) year EC funded Active Detection of Active Tuberculosis (ADAT) project since June 2007. Costs for purchasing the truck, laboratory and film show equipments, generator and generator trailer were approximately TANZANIAN SHILLINGS 390,000,000/=. Besides NIMR-MMRC which is the main implementer, other partners who are supporting the implementation of this MDTC include Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (USA), German Technical Cooperation – GTZ (Germany) and Mbeya Regional Medical Office (Tanzania). In close collaboration with the US PEPFAR funded Southern Highland AIDS and Care Programme, NIMR-MMRC is conducting several intervention activities mainly focused on the early detection of pulmonary tuberculosis of which the MDTC activities are part of.
To make the introduction of new diagnostic methods or treatments sustainable, intense training and thereafter constant utilisation of those new techniques is required. This can only be achieved through regular supervision but also through a high acceptance and strong demand from the communities served. Coupled with a mobilization and awareness campaign, the well equipped mobile diagnostic and training centre (MDTC) can in relatively short time (24 hrs) diagnose and stage a number of TB and HIV cases. Newly diagnosed cases can then receive their treatment within the recently established collaborative TB and HIV services at sub-district level, resulting in quicker and easier access to diagnosis and treatment for the rural population.
This support to the introduction of combined TB / HIV activities has provided the desired push and pull effect to increase acceptance and demand in the population and make it more sustainable. This pilot study will explored the feasibility of a MDTC equipped with innovative rapid diagnostic methods for TB , HIV testing and immune status staging in terms of technical feasibility, acceptability in the population and health care staff, cost effectiveness, training effect for health facility staff, sustainability and rapid access to care and treatment.