GOVERNMENT will roll out the latest Tuberculosis (TB) Preventative Therapy regime early next year for the treatment of latent TB.
By Kudakwashe Pembere Recently in Kadoma
Speaking to journalists at a Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe Media Training on TB Reporting, deputy director for the Aids and TB unit in the Health Ministry, Dr Charles Sandy said preventive therapy is a strategy for reducing the incidence of TB.
Dr Sandy said over the past years they have been using Isoniazid taken once daily for a period of six months. He said they have been targeting children under five years or babies of mothers with TB.
Dr Sandy said they have since adapted to World Health Organisation guidelines to give everyone exposed to TB the preventive therapy.
He said the new preventive treatment is expected to lower the pill burden and improve adherence.
“So the new treatment option is the use of a combination of isoniazid and rifapentine which will be taken once a week for a period of three months. So this reduce the obligation for the patient to be taking a lot of medications. We hope that it will lead to improved adherence and greater coverage of preventive therapy,” he said.
He said the drugs are in country and roll out will be early next year.
“It’s going to start very soon. I think the drugs have arrived now. We will start beginning of the year,” Dr Sandy said.
He gave a reference of a study in Alaska which saw preventive therapy reduce TB incidence to less than 20 per 100 000 population. Zimbabwe stands at 210 /100,000 population.
He added that the critical thing before initiating someone on preventive therapy is to rule out the presence of Active TB.
“If you were to give preventive therapy to someone with TB, you are essentially giving monotherapy to someone with TB and that will then lead to the creation of resistance. It’s very important that this be managed appropriately by our healthcare workers and we will keep it at the health system level,” Dr Sandy said.
Meanwhile, there was targeted screening in 21 high priority screening between April and May 2019 where only one truck was for active TB
“7,921 clients screened for TB working (old model) among high-risk • 851 clients presumed with TB. 46 diagnosed with the disease • 25 (54%) were bacteriologically confirmed • Two (8%) had Rifampicin-Resistant TB (RR-TB),” he said. “A total 2,658 (63%) clients were tested for HIV, with 42 (2%) testing positive. Among the 498 clients symptomatic for diabetes mellitus (DM), ten (2%) were diagnosed with DM and linked to care.”
Zimbabwe is among the Seven high TB burden countries are on track to achieve the 2020 mile-stones such as Kenya, Lesotho, Myanmar, the Russian Federa-tion, South Africa, and the United Republic of Tanzania.