Published:  12:00 AM, 28 July 2020

US provides 'Fast COVID-19 Testing Machines' to TB Hospital

US provides 'Fast COVID-19 Testing Machines' to TB Hospital US Ambassador Earl Miller handed over fast Covid 19 testing machines to the officilas of TB Hospital on Monday. -US Embassy
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has visited 250-bed Tuberculosis (TB) Hospital in Shyamoli here to inspect function of US government provided GeneXpert machines in detecting COVID-19 within 45 minutes.

During the visit, Miller also handed over equipment to improve diagnosis of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) to the hospital authority, an US embassy press release said on Monday, reports BSS.

The US envoy also observed how the NTP uses the GeneXpert machines to complete COVID-19 tests at the hospital within 45 minutes, allowing physicians to begin treatment for COVID-19 positive patients without delay.

The US government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided more than $100 million over the last ten years to support the National TB Control Program to reduce the TB burden in Bangladesh, said the release.

Since March 2020, the United States Embassy has also extended financial and technical support to complement the Bangladesh government's COVID-19 readiness and response efforts. USAID previously provided 74 GeneXpert machines to the Government of Bangladesh for TB testing, which are now also being used to test for COVID-19.

The GeneXpert system is produced by Cepheid, a California-based company, and is capable of on demand tests for a range of diseases, including TB and COVID-19.

Ambassador Miller met medical technologists at the hospital laboratory who received U.S.-supported training to develop their skills to effectively use the GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has recently demanded the world's attention, TB remains the leading cause of death by a single infectious disease globally and a top cause of death in Bangladesh, said the US embassy. To improve the diagnosis of MDR-TB, Ambassador Miller also handed over two mycobacteria growth indicator tube (MGIT) machines to NTP.

The US government was one of the first donors to mobilize funds to support Bangladesh's COVID-19 readiness and response efforts, contributing over $56.5 million from all agencies so far, including nearly $37 million from USAID for development and humanitarian assistance.

The US government, through USAID, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971, including more than $1 billion in health-related support.

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