Remote Inuit communities face a higher burden of TB disease than the rest of Canada. Because of the remote location and shortage of health human resources, there is no laboratory testing for active tuberculosis (TB) disease in Nunavut. All samples need to be flown to the south of Canada for testing. It takes longer to get results back to patients than in the south of Canada. This means it can take longer for Nunavut patients to get treatment for TB. A new laboratory test, called Xpert® MTB/RIF, has been used successfully in other countries with high burdens of TB disease and lack of access to resources. We were interested in finding out if it would be possible to use this new technology at the hospital in Iqaluit, Nunavut and whether it would shorten the time it takes to diagnose TB patients so they can get treatment faster. This technology could have an important role in improving health equity in TB diagnosis in remote, high burden regions of Canada.
The feasibility, accuracy and impact of Xpert® MTB/RIF testing in a remote Aboriginal community in Canada published online in the journal Chest on March 19th, 2015