Stop TB Partnership Carried TB Innovation to New Heights on Mt. Everest

Carrying TB Innovations to New Heights:

Highest X-Ray Ever Taken at 5,644m on Kala Pattar, Mt. Everest


Katmandu, Nepal (17 May 2024) - The Stop TB Partnership participated in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record of operating an X-ray machine at the highest altitude ever. The attempt took place at 5644m in Kala Pattar, on Mt Everest, on 16 May 2024. The initiative aimed to raise awareness and demonstrate the effectiveness of ultra-portable digital X-ray technology combined with artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosing TB in remote and underserved areas.

Historic Achievement Above Everest Base Camp

In collaboration with MinXray (USA) and (India), along with the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), the Stop TB Partnership successfully participated in setting a new Guinness World Record by operating the highest-altitude X-ray machine in Kala Pattar, Mt. Everest, at 5,644m above sea level—300m higher than the previous record. This record attempt, now awaiting validation, underscores the potential of ultra-portable digital X-ray machines to operate in extreme conditions, highlighting their utility in regions with limited access to healthcare.

The previous record of operating the highest altitude X-ray machine was set by Michael Carnie at 5,364 m (17,598 ft), in Mount Everest Base Camp, Khumjung, Nepal, on 21 April 2022.

Impact on TB Diagnosis and Healthcare

TB remains a significant global health challenge, affecting over 10 million people annually, with 3 million cases going undiagnosed. The portable X-ray machines, capable of operating without direct electricity and enhanced with AI for rapid TB and pulmonary condition analysis, are a game-changer. This technology promises early detection and comprehensive healthcare in isolated areas.

Commitment to Remote Healthcare Access

"This achievement symbolizes our commitment to ensuring no region is beyond the reach of life-saving health services. With this technology, we can reach the unreached and provide essential healthcare to vulnerable communities," said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, stated.

The X-ray equipment was showcased twice: first in Namche Bazaar, where it was used to screen local porters and sherpas, and then at the Himalayan Rescue Association’s health facility in Pheriche (4266m), during an official handover ceremony. Afterwards, it was transported to Kala Pattar on Mt. Everest for the world record attempt and then donated to HRA, with whom the Stop TB Partnership is also establishing a small grant to do outreach and screening activities during the coming year. HRA works with local health facilities and supports over 100,000 people annually in remote mountainous regions of Nepal.

A Lifeline to Those in Need

Dr. Jacob Creswell, who leads the TB REACH initiative of the Stop TB Partnership, added, "This event is not just a demonstration of innovation; it's a lifeline for those with limited access to care. Our goal is to bridge the gap between available technology and the communities that need it most."