The MMRC tuberculosis clinic resides on the premises of the Mbeya Referral Hospital (MRH) as an integral part of the regional TB-clinic in Mbeya. It comprises the ambulatory TB clinic and the new TB ward, which has just been completed, and will enable hospitalization of TB patients for research, and eventually for compassionate care. The dedicated staff is trained on GCLP and experienced with diagnosis and treatment of (pulmonary) TB. Comprehensive support, care and treatment will be provided to all study patients. This includes medical treatment of concomitant diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus, vascular and cardiac diseases etc.) and/or co-infections such as HIV, worms, malaria and dysentery.
Currently, in our ambulatory TB clinic 3 medical doctors, 2 counsellors and medical officers, 1 pharmacist (plus one back up pharmacist), 1 social scientist, 1 secretary and 1 driver are employed to deal with treatment and recruitment of study patients for the REMoxTB trial and other diagnostic studies such as the Tr-DNA-project and the planned TB-NEAT diagnostic trial, which will start in March 2011. The MMRC TB-clinic is cooperating with more than 12 hospitals and health care centers in the region of Mbeya town to support TB diagnostics and control in the region but also to facilitate and enhance recruitment into our research studies.
The new TB clinic harbours up to 10 beds. All rooms have sufficient ventilation to minimize bacterial burden in the ambient air, so to minimize infection risk for staff, family members and other patients. To deal with complications which can occur in study participants, supportive care including monitoring of vital parameters and oxygen supply are in place. The EBA unit will be open for compassionate care for TB patients who are too sick to receive ambulatory treatment through the government TB treatment programme (DTLC). These patients shall benefit from the experience, continuous attention and supportive care in the unit and will not have to be hospitalized in Mbeya Regional Hospital main wards, reducing the risk of infection to fellow patients and staff there.