12 February - Geneva - A $1 million project funded by Stop TB Partnerships TB REACH in 2010, has improved TB and HIV detection in prisons in Zambia and can potentially contribute to the development of prison-based programs elsewhere, according to a recent study on the project.
The project financed during the first round of funding by TB REACH, enhanced tuberculosis screening and improved the detection of tuberculosis and HIV in Zambian prisons where both tuberculosis and HIV infection are common.
A range of methods were used to enhance screening and detection, including mass screening of inmates, community-based screening of those residing in encampments adjacent to prisons. Routine systems were established - with inmates as peer educators - for the screening of newly entered or symptomatic inmates. Infection control measures were improved, diagnostic capacity increased. The project also promoted awareness of TB in Zambia's prisons.
The prevalence of tuberculosis recorded in the prisons and adjacent encampments - 6.4% - is 18 times the national prevalence estimate. Overall, 23% of the inmates and 14% of the encampment residents were HIV-positive.
After the conclusion of the project ended, the Zambia Prisons Service has continued routine entry and referral tuberculosis screening - with funding and ongoing technical assistance from the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia.
The paper can be accessed here: Screening for tuberculosis and testing for human immunodeficiency virus in Zambian prisons.
You can learn more about this project, and other TB REACH initiatives working with prison populations, by reading 'Improving TB Case Detection'.