The United States Government has launched a new and comprehensive program, the Help Ethiopia Address the Low TB Performance Project, commonly known as HEAL-TB, to assist the Government of Ethiopia in addressing the high tuberculosis (TB) burden. HEAL-TB will benefit over 25 million Ethiopians. The President’s Emergency Program for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provides partial financial support for the project.
Over the next five years, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will devote $42 million dollars in funding to the program to support the Government of Ethiopia with a comprehensive package of tuberculosis interventions to provide quality case detection, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as strengthen referral linkages between health facilities and communities in need. According to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, TB is the leading reason for hospitalization and is ranked the third greatest killer disease in Ethiopia.
HEAL-TB will expand, improve and sustain TB services in ten zones in the Amhara and Oromia regions. Expansion into additional zones will occur after two years of implementation. In addition to improved TB services, HEAL-TB will develop the capacity of Health Extension Workers in nearly 3,500 health posts to identify possible tuberculosis cases and make referrals for diagnosis to health facilities, thus increasing the number of infected patients receiving quality case detection and treatment.
HEAL-TB will also work with the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI) and Regional Reference Laboratories to implement a quality assurance system for health center and hospital laboratories. HEAL-TB aims to increase the low TB case detection rate to reach the global target of 70% in the project areas, and increase the treatment success rate to 85%, thus saving the lives of thousands.