Electricity cuts in war-torn Yemen have hampered the fight against drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, according to the award-winning microbiologist Fathiah Zakham.
“The biggest problem is the delay in diagnosing the disease,” Zakham said in an interview with Al-Fanar Media. “We need cultures and incubation that take two months to grow. However, the continuous power outages in Yemen, due to war conditions, do not allow samples to grow.”
Zakham, a specialist in molecular diagnostics, said microbiological cultures provide more accurate analysis than microscopic methods.
Her research, funded by a three-year scholarship at the University of Helsinki, focuses on drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Yemen has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis among Arab countries, with 48 cases per 100,000 people, according to World Bank statistics for 2019, although figures for much of Africa, Asia and the Pacific region are far higher.