The flag-off of the integrated community COVID TB Active Case Finding using the WoW truck in Owerri Imo State on the 7th of September, 2020 was a success.
KNCV TB Foundation is implementing the TB LON Regions 1 and 2 projects in Imo State and 13 other states in the country with funding from USAID.
The KNCV TB Foundation is partnering with the Imo State Ministry of Health in their community based COVID response with the wellness on wheels (WoW) truck which is to assist the state’s COVID-19 response through the improvement of its testing capacity using the new Xpress SARS-CoV-2 cartridges in the two 4-modular GeneXpert machines installed in the WoW truck. This will enable the state to achieve its aim of testing at least one percent of its 6 million inhabitants.
This technology operationalized in a mobile truck, the Wellness on Wheel (WoW) improves access to quality TB diagnostics in communities and high-volume patient facilities and contributes to an increase in TB case finding and reduction in turn-around-time of test results during TB case finding campaigns since 2014. This experience will be used in supporting the Imo State Government to use the same truck as a one-stop-shop diagnostic platform using the Xpress SARS-COV-2 to improve access to COVID 19 and TB diagnoses in the State.
The intervention is a collaborative effort of the State Ministry of Health and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the TB Local Organisations Network (LON) project implemented by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Dr. Bethrand Odume said that the approach is to integrate COVID case finding with TB.
“COVID and TB have some similarities; both primarily affect the lungs with similar symptoms and now can be diagnosed using same tool, the Genexpert machine in the WoW truck which can provide a quick diagnosis with the result out within 2 hours of testing”.
The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Damaris Osunkwo commissioned the Mobile Laboratory Truck at the Emergency Operation Centre inside the Imo State Specialist Hospital. The mobile diagnostic truck will be used to test Covid-19 and Tuberculosis in the state.
She was accompanied by the Executive Director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Odume Bethrand, and his team and other notable personalities of the World Health Organization and State TB program.
“Some people have been worried that the COVID testing we’ve been doing in the state was only in the Municipal, we really wanted to go to all the Local Government Areas. This will help us and the world to know the real burden of this disease” She said.
The commissioner called on all Imo people to come out and get tested for free while stating that Governor Hope Uzodinma assures that those who test positive will receive free treatment in the state’s designated Isolation centers.