An investment in health

The Samoa National Health Services (N.H.S) received a $48,540 GeneXpert machine yesterday.

Among its uses, the GeneXpert machine assists with Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis.

Present during the handover was the caretaker Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, Dr. Baoping Yang from the World Health Organisation and Moana Luamanuvae, the Assistant Resident Representative of U.N.D.P.

The machine was donated by the Global Fund through the U.N.D.P.

Tuitama thanked the Global Fund and the U.N.D.P for their generosity.

 “In 2012, Samoa started lobbying for a GeneXpert machine to assist with TB diagnosis and other significant texts for the health sector,” he said. 

“To have a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool in place ensures that Samoa is not far behind from advanced technologies.”

He added that the Global Fund Project focuses on the elimination and control of HIV, TB and Malaria.

 “The World Health Organisation endorsed the Xpert MTB (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis) for use in TB endemic countries and declared it a major milestone for global TB diagnosis in December 2010,” he said.

“Through UNDP which last year became the Principal Recipient of the Global Fund Project, the machine is now a reality.”

The machine can detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sample sputum, said Tuitama. “A person suspected of having TB needs to give a sputum sample, which the health care worker then places in a small tube. From the tube, the sample is fed into the machine, and then the biochemical reactions are started to see if the sample contains the TB bacterium.” 

The machine can notify two things. The first one is whether or not a person has TB and the second one is whether or not the TB the person can be treated.

The tests are much faster with such machine compared to other machines, the Minister said. The Minister also urged the employees at the Laboratory to take good care of the machine.

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