A new and bigger tuberculosis diagnostic centre is under construction at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare following an injection of funds amounting to US$165 000 from the Global Fund Round Five.Patients suspected of suffering from tuberculosis in Harare are referred to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital which until recently was the only centre in the Metropolitan area that conducts sputum testing for TB.
The laboratory at the hospital had become too small to cater for the large number of samples that were coming through per day for testing because of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Harare city medical director, Dr Stanley Mungofa said the challenges being faced in the old laboratory will soon be a thing of the past after some funds from the Global Fund allocation were set aside for the construction of a new laboratory.
The US$165 000 was channelled towards the construction of the laboratory and Dr Mungofa expressed optimism that the new centre will be completed soon.
â€œThis is a welcome development, our old lab was no longer a conducive environment for the amount of work that is carried out here on a daily basis. We cater for at least 300 patients per day since we are the only TB testing centre here in the capital. We have also set up some satellite labs across the capital just to ease congestion at Beatrice hospital, so we expect the new lab to help us improve on service delivery,â€ saidÂ Dr. Mungofa.
Even though the government of Zimbabwe has endorsed the new TB testing method called gene expert, the method is still not widely used due to the high costs of the testing equipment.
Both government and public institutions are still heavily depending on sputum testing methods for the diagnosis of TB.
The new laboratory which will be fitted with state of the art equipment is expected to improve service delivery at the hospital and TB patients will be able to commence medication as soon as diagnosis confirms the presence ofÂ the bacteria that causes the disease.Â