Bangladesh opens first one-stop TB service centre

With USAID support, four more one-stop TB service centres will be launched across the country in the next several years.

The first one-stop tuberculosis (TB) service centre in the country was launched on Tuesday.

Health minister Zahid Maleque, US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) deputy mission director Randy Ali inaugurated in the centre in Dhaka, reports UNB.

US investment helped transform Shyamoli TB hospital into state-of-the-art health facility to test, diagnose and treat all forms of tuberculosis (TB) under one roof.

With USAID support, the National TB Programme will open four more one-stop TB service centers across the country in the next several years.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s National TB Programme has transformed the 250-bed TB hospital in Shyamoli into the premier centre to treat TB by equipping the facility with state-of-the-art testing and laboratory equipment.

USAID’s Alliance for Combating TB project also trained a specialized pool of doctors to detect and diagnose the disease—especially multi-drug-resistant TB, and to provide safe and effective treatment for all forms of TB to patients on site.

As a result, TB patients no longer need referrals to travel to another facility and are able to begin treatment regimens quickly and more easily following their diagnosis—improving their chances of beating the disease.

“We’re pleased to open the doors to this impressive one-stop TB centre and help protect the lives of many who’re fighting this disease,” said Miller.

He said this is part of their shared vision between the United States and Bangladesh in helping people across this country strive for healthier and more prosperous lives for themselves and their families.

“Improving access to critical testing and treatment services for all forms of TB—especially multi-drug-resistant strains of the disease—will help Bangladesh cure many more people through timely treatment while preventing new infections,” said USAID deputy mission director Randy Ali.

Over the past 10 years, the United States has invested more than $100 million to advance tuberculosis control efforts in Bangladesh and donated 72 GeneXpert rapid TB testing machines to increase detection and treatment rates, and put positive cases under immediate treatment.

Through USAID, the US government has provided more than $8 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since its independence, said the US embassy in Bangladesh.