PIH Lesotho Opens New TB Reference Lab

Today Partners In Health Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer and Executive Director Ophelia Dahl celebrated the opening of Lesotho’s National TB Reference Lab, the first biosafety level 3 lab in the country and one of only two such state-of-the art tuberculosis testing facilities in southern Africa.

The burden of tuberculosis in Lesotho, a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, is among the highest in the world. There are 633 new cases of TB per 100,000 people each year. Located in the capital city Maseru, the lab will allow cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) to be identified without having to send samples outside of the country. Until now, identifying XDR-TB required samples to be shipped to labs in South Africa, a cumbersome and costly process that hindered care.

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