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6th March 2023 Indigenous Health

New portable chest X-ray unit supports TB outbreak

APY Lands X ray unit

The Hospital Research Foundation Group is proud to be supporting SA Health’s response to the tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in the APY Lands by funding a new fully-portable chest X-ray unit.

The $70,000 equipment has allowed health teams to screen high-risk contacts in the APY Lands’ very remote communities.

TB is a potentially fatal disease caused by a bacterial infection and most commonly affects a person’s lungs. It is spread through the air when an infectious person coughs, sneezes or speaks, sending germs into the air.

International guidelines recommend a thorough surveillance program of the community affected by TB, however remarkably, no portable X-ray machine had been available in Australia – until now.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier and SA’s TB Service Clinical Director Dr Simone Barry visited the APY Lands last week to meet with community leaders, service providers, schools and the Nganampa Health Council in response to the outbreak.

Dr Barry was extremely grateful for The Hospital Research Foundation’s prompt and generous funding to help her team reach remote areas.

“The X-ray machine is really quite amazing,” Dr Barry said.

“It is such a beautiful piece of equipment and I found both patients and staff from the clinics fascinated with it. It was also good that it was linked to a laptop so that I could view the X-ray in real-time and also show the patient.”

Screening will extend to the whole community and schools in the coming months.