U.S. Ambassador H. E. Earl R. Miller lauds icddr,b TB screening centre model

Dhaka, 14 March 2019 - The U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Earl R. Miller visited an icddr,b tuberculosis screening centre located in old part of the city, Dholaikhal, on Wednesday, 13 March 2019. Under the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP), icddr,b is operating ten TB screening centres in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet through an innovative sustainable social enterprise model. Of these ten centres, two are supported by USAID’s Challenge TB Project.   

Ambassador Miller was accompanied by the USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Derrick S. Brown and Director of OPHNE, USAID Bangladesh Caroll Vasquez. They were welcomed at the centre by icddr,b’s Executive Director Professor John D Clemens and the Challenge TB Project’s Chief of Party Dr Oscar Cordon.

Dr Sayera Banu, Senior Scientist and Head of Program on Emerging Infections at icddr,b briefed Ambassador Miller and his companions regarding screening and treatment procedures at the centre, alongside its state of the art diagnosis facilities. The challenge to identify missing TB cases and how the social enterprise model is performing incredibly well to address this was also covered. This model is successfully providing screening and treatment services because of its flexible operational timing, subsidised digital chest X-rays and free of cost sputum GeneXpert tests allowing it to reach a broader section of the community. Additionally, patients are provided free of charge glucometry and HbA1c if found to have raised blood sugar level. Private physicians play a significant role in referring presumptive TB patients to this centre.

Ambassador Miller commended the icddr,b-USAID initiative, saying  “I am honored to visit this facility and dedicated staff. The work being done here is life saving and life changing. The U.S. Government is proud to be associated with this extraordinary program.”

Dr Sayera appreciated Ambassador Miller’s interest in visiting a TB screening centre, she said, “Just a few weeks ahead of the World TB Day, on March 24, the Ambassador’s visit to a TB screening and treatment centre will definitely provide encouragement to the entire workforce engaged in this life saving work. Additionally, it will help raise awareness about this global epidemic of tuberculosis.”  

The visiting delegation also met with few patients and staff members at the TB screening centre.