15th of April - WORLD ART DAY : Painted mobile clinics: innovative Dutch vision on battling TBC

By Kirsten Schmidt
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Veenendaal, April 11th 2019 - On the 15th of April, World Art Day takes place. Dutch company Delft Imaging Systems shows that art can be used as a means for a better world. The innovative enterprise from Veenendaal has been committed to fighting tuberculosis for years and invented a smart solution to make their mobile clinics more accessible: thirty local artists painted thirty mobile clinics that are able to quickly and efficiently diagnose TB. People are screened in these clinics and can start a treatment the very same day if necessary.

Green energy
A colorfully painted medical post screening people in the middle of the desert, jungle or countryside. Delft Imaging Systems developed fully self-sufficient mobile clinics that drive around to remote areas on solar energy. The paintings on the clinics that have nothing to do with TB make these clinics more accessible. Screening takes less than one minute with a combination of a digital X-ray scan with TB-detection software CAD4TB. A radiologist does not need to be present at the location, as the software immediately indicates whether the lungs of a person are clean or whether there is a possibility of TB-presence by means of artificial intelligence. In case of the latter, the GeneXpert GXP lab-test offers a definitive answer within two hours. This way, 300 people can be screened per day anywhere in the world.

CEO of Delft Imaging Systems Guido Geerts, is very proud of this innovative way of combating TB: “There is an enormous taboo around TB, especially in remote areas. People really do not want to be associated with the disease in any way, so they won’t visit a doctor until it’s too late. They walk around with the disease for years because of this taboo and unconsciously infect other people in their surroundings. Our mobile clinics help with diagnosing TB and breaking the taboo worldwide. This way, we are working towards for permanently getting rid of TB step by step. We invited local artists to provide the exterior of these clinics with colorful artworks, so that the appearance of a clinic does not scare people off. Moreover, people even come to admire the artworks and often have themselves screened immediately. A fantastic result!”

Tuberculosis is a disease that is treatable, but a huge unsolved problem in developing countries. 10 million people are affected yearly and results in 4.100 deaths worldwide. The embarrassment around getting tested is very prevalent and a problem as well: when people do not have themselves tested, they cannot be helped. One of the biggest challenges in combating TB is the detection of people that do not know that they are infected. They can transmit the disease but due to the taboo around TB they do not have themselves tested.

Early diagnosis
It is essential that possible carriers are being helped past the taboo: when TBC is diagnosed early, a cure within six months is possible. According to the World Health Organisation report of 2015, 67% of all new TB-cases in Ghana go unnoticed. However, as treatment success rates in Ghana are as high as 85%, accelerating case detection is critical to fight and end TB.