The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) continues to be an important partner to the Ministry of Health in answering key health questions and providing evidence for decision making processes, aimed at addressing health problems for the Zambian people.
Notably so, CIDRZ in collaboration with the National Health Research Authority (NHRA) presented findings of a study on “TB Screening in Antenatal Clinics in Lusaka District” at the Quarterly Research Scientific Meeting held at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) Paediatric Centre of Excellence.
With support from U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CIDRZ conducted the study from 2012 to 2013 in three Lusaka District health facilities of Chipata, Kanyama and Chawama to assess the feasibility of a routine TB symptom screening and TB sample collection as well as determining the prevalence of TB among HIV positive and negative women.
CIDRZ District Clinical Mentor – TB, Dora Luhanga (then Study Coordinator) said the study participants were pregnant women aged 18 and above who were attending antenatal clinic (ANC) for the first time.
Ms. Luhanga said “in presumptive TB cases with valid culture results, we found a prevalence of 1.50 % among HIV-positive women, 1.45 % among symptomatic HIV- negative women and in all pregnant women screened TB prevalence was 0.34%.”
Dora said the study revealed that integrating TB screening into antenatal services was feasible and acceptable going by the high rates of TB screening achieved through integration in existing PMTCT pre-test counseling sessions.
In conclusion, the study recommended that:
- Symptom screening alone was not adequate for TB screening tool in pregnant women.
- Pregnant women should routinely have access to more sensitive TB diagnostic & point-of-care tools to increase case detection and reduce delays in treatment initiation and loss to follow up.
- Consideration be made to integrating routine TB screening, alongside HIV testing, into antenatal care services with strong linkages to care and treatment for those who test positive and Isonized Preventive Therapy (IPT) for those that test negative be included.
- IPT for those that test negative could also be part of the package
The meeting provides a platform for dissemination of research information and research results which are analysed for knowledge translation, based on policy and programs relevance.