IFAKARA, TANZANIA – BERLIN
TB NETWORK

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PARTNERSHIPS

PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN:

Charité- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine / Germany

&

St. Francis Referral Hospital and Ifakara Health Institute, Ifakara / Tanzania

eHealth solutions for improved access to Tuberculosis and HIV diagnosis and treatment for rural populations in Tanzania

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Lives can be saved and infection rates cut through timely diagnosis and continuous, uninterrupted treatment. Despite the fact that the number of new HIV infections has been reduced worldwide including in the most affected African countries, this disease still represents a tremendous burden for African health systems. Timely HIV and TB diagnosis and uninterrupted treatment are essential to reduce the burden of disease and prevent new infections as well as resistance to available medicines.

MORE ABOUT TANZANIA

  • Tanzania is home to 55,572 million people living on 945,087 sq km.
  • The country was spared by the internal strife that blighted many African countries. However, domestic stability has not translated into economic prosperity for Tanzanians. Many citizens still live below the World Bank poverty line.
  • Tanzania is the home of two renowned tourism destinations – Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and wildlife-rich national parks, such as the Serengeti, making tourism an important source of income for the country.
  • Life expectancy at birth in Tanzania is 62(m) / 66(f) years.
  • The probability of dying before age five was at 53 for 1,000 births in 2018.

 

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Although the number of new HIV infections has been reduced significantly in Tanzania to 72,000 in 2018, bringing the percentage of people aged 15-49 years living with the virus down to 4.6%, the treatment of those infected still causes a major challenge for the health system.

Tanzanian health facilities diagnose 142,000 new TB cases annually, of which only 53% are treated (2018 figures). Distance to health facilities is a barrier to diagnosis and treatment for people living in rural areas. 70% of the population of Tanzania live in rural areas with primary healthcare facilities available to them, but TB and HIV diagnosis and treatment require tertiary care facilities with laboratory equipment and specialised care. Those facilities are difficult to reach for the poor rural population due to long distances and poor road infrastructure.

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Patients suffering from TB need to take their medicine daily for at least half a year, and patients living with HIV for the rest of their lives. Continuous treatment and patient follow-up are therefore a challenge in rural areas. Many patients do not return to health facilities for follow-up visits and monitoring, which results in a high dropout rate.

The Tanzanian government has adopted the HIV and TB strategies of UNAIDS and WHO with the aim of providing equal access to TB and HIV diagnosis and treatment for all populations. In order to achieve this goal, the partner institutions want to introduce an innovative IT solution.

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eHEALTH

Our eHealth Contribution

The central laboratory at the Referral Hospital will be linked with rural health centres by eHealth technology. Patients will not need to travel to the central laboratory facility: Instead, registered and electronically tracked samples taken at the rural health centre will be sent for testing, ensuring low-cost and low-barrier access to modern high-quality and reliable diagnostic methods. The results will be communicated back to the health workers in the rural facility by text message to their smart phones or tablets. This way of communication will also be used to advise health workers on how to proceed with a patient’s treatment.

This eHealth technology ensures that those diagnosed with TB or HIV do not fall out of the system before completion of treatment. It also makes it possible to monitor new TB and HIV cases and performance of the health system online in real time and to recognise and to respond to delays/problems in a timely manner. This solution is also applicable for the diagnosis and treatment monitoring of other diseases in Tanzania and other African countries, and will enhance treatment success significantly.

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Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Infectious and Respiratory Medicine / Germany

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a corporation under public law and a legal entity, is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. It represents the medical faculty of both Humboldt University Berlin and Free University Berlin, and is a corporate member of the Berlin Institute of Health. Clinical care, research and teaching are delivered by physicians and researchers of the highest international standard. Charité stands for modern medical training in Germany with high scientific standards and combines care, responsibility, respect and entrepreneurship in university medicine. Charité proudly lays claim to more than half of all German Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine, including Emil von Behring, Robert Koch, and Paul Ehrlich.

Contact:

PD Dr. Thomas Zoller
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Medical Department
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin
thomas.zoller@charite.de

St. Francis Referral Hospital and Ifakara Institute, Ifakara / Tanzania

St. Francis Referral Hospital is a non-profit institution belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ifakara. It is a 371-bed hospital and was declared a District (Council) Designated Hospital for the Kilombero and Ulanga Districts in 1976 with a catchment population of about 600,000 inhabitants. In 2010, the hospital was upgraded to the status of Referral Hospital at Regional Level which caters to the whole Coast Region of Tanzania.

Contact:

Dr. Herry Mapesi
St. Francis Regional Referral Hospital, SFRH
Chronic Disease Clinic of Ifakara
Off Mlabani Passage
P. O. Box 53
Ifakara
hmapesi@gmail.com

MORE INFORMATION

ABOUT

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Infectious and Respiratory Medicine / Germany

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a corporation under public law and a legal entity, is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. It represents the medical faculty of both Humboldt University Berlin and Free University Berlin, and is a corporate member of the Berlin Institute of Health. Clinical care, research and teaching are delivered by physicians and researchers of the highest international standard. Charité stands for modern medical training in Germany with high scientific standards and combines care, responsibility, respect and entrepreneurship in university medicine. Charité proudly lays claim to more than half of all German Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine, including Emil von Behring, Robert Koch, and Paul Ehrlich.

Contact:

PD Dr. Thomas Zoller
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Medical Department
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin
thomas.zoller@charite.de

Logo Charite.svg 2

St. Francis Referral Hospital and Ifakara Institute, Ifakara / Tanzania

St. Francis Referral Hospital is a non-profit institution belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ifakara. It is a 371-bed hospital and was declared a District (Council) Designated Hospital for the Kilombero and Ulanga Districts in 1976 with a catchment population of about 600,000 inhabitants. In 2010, the hospital was upgraded to the status of Referral Hospital at Regional Level which caters to the whole Coast Region of Tanzania.

Contact:

Dr. Herry Mapesi
St. Francis Regional Referral Hospital, SFRH
Chronic Disease Clinic of Ifakara
Off Mlabani Passage
P. O. Box 53
Ifakara
hmapesi@gmail.com

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TB NETWORK

ATSIMO-ANDREFANA REGION, MADAGASCAR – BERLIN

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