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There are many challenges that impact the current referral network for Tuberculosis (TB)
sputum specimens in Mozambique. In some cases, health facilities are remote and the road infrastructure
is poor and at times impassable, leading to delays in laboratory specimen transportation and long
turn-around times for results. Drone transportation is a promising solution to reduce transportation
time and improve access to laboratory diagnostics if the sample quality is not compromised during
transport. This study evaluated the impact of drone transportation on the quality of TB sputum
specimens with suspected Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 156 specimens were collected at five (5)
health centers and sent to the Instituto Nacional de Saúde (INS) National TB Reference Laboratory.
Specimens were then equally divided into two aliquots; one to be transported on land and the other
by air using a drone. Control and study group specimens were processed using the NALC-NaOH
method. Agreement between sample and control specimens was acceptable, indicating that drone
transportation did not affect the quality of TB specimens. The authors recommend additional studies
to validate drone transportation of TB specimens over a longer period of time to give further
confidence in the adoption of drone delivery in Mozambique.