‘TB elimination on the horizon’

Hatred Zenenga in NEW YORK, United States

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said Zimbabwe is fully committed to the elimination of Tuberculosis (TB) in line with targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the “End TB Strategy”.

The President said this while addressing a high-level meeting on the fight against TB at the ongoing 78th United Nations General Assembly.

He added that the meeting allows countries to identify gaps and challenges towards concrete steps for the eradication of the TB epidemic.

“May I reaffirm that Zimbabwe is fully committed to the elimination of TB in line with targets set out in the SDGs and the ‘End TB Strategy’.

“This has led to the removal of our country from the list of 22 high-burdened countries”.

President Mnangagwa also said Zimbabwe continues to prioritise equitable access to TB prevention, quality diagnosis, treatment and care services for all Zimbabweans.

“Added focus is on measures to address the social determinants of the disease, such as food and nutrition, poverty, overcrowding, malnutrition, and lack of access to healthcare.

“Further, my Government has decentralised TB healthcare services to all our communities, particularly those whose existing vulnerabilities are compounded by TB. Equally, we have been quick to adopt new treatment options, to optimise our TB response”.

To date, Zimbabwe has adopted the World Health Organisation multi-sectoral accountability framework for Tuberculosis to enhance collaborative efforts in the fight against TB.

TB is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, ranking above HIV/AIDS.

Globally, 10,6 million people developed TB while an estimated 1,6 million people died of TB in 2021 alone.

In Zimbabwe, an estimated 29 945 people developed active TB in 2021 and 16 541 were diagnosed and put on treatment.

A number of people are still missing and therefore not getting the treatment they deserve.

In addition, the proportion of children who were diagnosed with TB has been consistently low, and has been 6 percent for the past four years.

It is understood that stigma and discrimination, limited resources, limited capacity to diagnose TB in children and catastrophic costs suffered by TB patients as they seek services remain a major challenge.

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