Published 20 Jul 2020

Innovation pays dividends against COVID-19 and TB in Karachi



In the face of the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan, the Zero TB Initiative-Karachi (ZTBI-Karachi) program was forced to suspend its tuberculosis (TB) screening activities, putting a ten-year, 15% decline in TB incidence at risk. Amid the pandemic, TB detection numbers plummeted by 83%, instigating a rapid response from the Global Health Directorate of the Indus Health Network (IHN-GHD), which leads the ZTBI-Karachi.
Reacting to the crisis, IHN-GHD collaborated with artificial intelligence company,, to adapt their TB-screening mobile radiology vans to screen for both TB and COVID-19, minimizing transmission risks and operating in open-air environments. This initiative established Karachi's first drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic and reversed the dangerous decline in TB case notification.
Thanks to this innovation, Q3 2020 saw 693 new TB diagnoses and 60,000 screenings, a substantial recovery from the height of the lockdown. Although these figures still trail pre-pandemic numbers, they represent significant strides in mitigating a threat that persists amidst a challenging health crisis.

Share this story