Scientific advances and innovative ideas are unlocking improvements in disease prevention, treatment, and care. A chest X-ray is a rapid imaging technique that allows lung abnormalities to be identified and has been one of the primary tools for detecting TB as it has a high sensitivity for pulmonary TB.

Recently, chest X-rays are being promoted as a useful tool that can be placed early in screening and triaging. Numerous national TB prevalence surveys have demonstrated that chest X-rays are the most sensitive screening tool for pulmonary TB and for people with TB who are asymptomatic – at least early in the course of the disease.

Other factors that have contributed to the use of chest X-rays in TB care and prevention include the increased availability of radiography, including digital radiography with its lower running costs and highly portable systems for field use; the documented rapidity of results and high throughput capacity; the decreased radiation dose; improved portable systems that can be used for mobile units; better (digital) archiving facilities.

AQUITY has acquired mobile digital chest X-ray (DCXR) containers for two districts in South Africa: The Ehlanzeni District Municipality and the OR Tambo District Municipality. The project is expected to run from November 2020 until March 2022 and will visit various areas, hoping to reach at least 100 000 people in both districts.

The digital chest X-rays will be able to diagnose TB leading to improved treatment rates. According to WHO and South African TB guidelines, once the X-ray shows abnormalities, additional bacteriological testing is required to confirm TB.