From November 2021 to October 2022, MSH, with funding from FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), implemented the COVID-19 ACT-A Project in Ethiopia to improve and accelerate access to and uptake of COVID-19 rapid testing. While testing is the entry point to controlling the pandemic, it remains a major bottleneck globally – especially in low- and middle-income countries such as Ethiopia. As such, MSH sought to support Ethiopia’s national COVID-19 response strategy by integrating COVID-19 rapid testing with screening for other respiratory diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), to transition from an emergency response and move toward a sustainable, integrated health systems response to the disease.
The project designed and introduced a TB/COVID-19 integrated screening model that was implemented at 15 high-load health facilities across four regions to:
- Build health workers’ capacity to administer rapid COVID-19 tests and conduct simultaneous TB/COVID-19 screening
- Enhance access to rapid tests and screening tools to prevent service interruptions and enhance patient triage practices
- Deliver personal protective equipment and medical supplies, such as N-95 respirators and infrared thermometers, to bolster infection prevention and control measures at all participating health facilities
- Improve health facilities’ reporting of COVID-19 testing data to national health authorities
MSH partnered with key stakeholders already working to enhance the country’s existing laboratory system and the COVID-19 response, including the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the COVID-19 Task Force, and the USAID Eliminate TB Project, which MSH also implements.