Zimbabwe is making great strides in terms of detecting tuberculosis despite lagging behind in pediatric TB diagnosis, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official has said.
By Kuda Pembere
WHO representative Dr Wiflred Nkhoma said the country has done impressively well in terms of diagnosing TB. He said this at the launch of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation-Unitaid Catalysing Pediatric TB Innovation in Zimbabwe.
“I can safely say Zimbabwe has done well in TB treatment and I can tell you this as an advisor to the WHO regional office,” he said.
Ministry of Health and Childcare National TB Programme Manager, Dr Charles Sandy said progress wise 80 percent has been covered in detecting and treating TB cases.
“WHO has estimated that we are now improving in terms of detecting our cases and putting people on treatment where we are above 80 per cent coverage but our target is 90 percent to control the epidemic effectively,” he said.
He however said they have not been doing the same as children.
“However, the same cannot be said of children. Normally we would expected 20 to 30 percent of the cases to be coming from children. Currently we are only detecting only 50 percent of that target of 15 percent,” said Dr Sandy.
Representing Health and childcare minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, Permanent Secretary Major General Gerald Gwinji haild EgPAF for mobilising the resources to scale up pediatric TB diagnosis.
“The Government of Zimbabwe appreciates and is grateful to the EGPAF for mobilizing the additional financial resources from Unitaid to support the scale up of Pediatric TB care and prevention services,” said the minister.
EGPAF country director Dr Agnes Mahomva said the project will be rolled out two phases.
“The project will operate in 20 pilot sites during the first two years of the project and an additional 30 sites in the last two years,” she said.