Private Sector Invited To Help End TB In Zimbabwe

THE Stop TB Partnership in Zimbabwe has called on private sector and corporate players to join hands with government and other partners in combating Tuberculosis (TB) as the country works towards eliminating the disease by 2035.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking at the Stop TB Partnership Breakfast meeting, Dr Joseph Mafurira from the department of AIDS and TB in the Ministry of health and child care said Zimbabwe’s goal of eliminating TB could only be achieved through collective effort from government and private sector.

Our national TB control program vision is to see a TB free Zimbabwe by 2035. Our goals is to reduce the incidence of all forms of TB by 80 percent and to have reduced mortality of all forms of TB by 80 percent  as well from the figures of 2013 and this is the End TB strategy that has been guiding our operations.

“We have got three pillars that we work with and the targets for the end TB strategy are by 2035, to have reduced the number of deaths of TB by 95 percent. By 2035 to have reduced the incidence of TB and also to have Zero catastrophic costs among TB patients by 2035 as well,” said Dr Mafurira.

Stop TB Partnership team leader in Zimbabwe Mr Donald Tobaiwa said private sector should actively be involved in the fight against TB through providing ideas, resources and technical assistance.

“The country level Stop TB platform is a voluntary alliance between organisations and people from different sectors of society be it private, corporate sector, government, civil society, media, current and Ex TB patients or anyone who wants to work collaboratively towards ending TB can be part of this platform.

“Everyone will be contributing from their core competencies so if you are media, you contribute from that space, if you are civil society, you contribute from that space and if you are private sector you also contribute from that space and collectively catalyse an innovative approach towards ending TB in the country,” said Mr Tobaiwa.

Even though Zimbabwe is currently celebrating a decline in TB incidence and prevalence, it still has the highest rates of new TB infections and deaths in the region. In 2017, TB incidence in Zimbabwe was reported to be 221 new cases per 100,000 down from a peak of 617 per 100,000.

Mr Tobaiwa added that a collective partnership with private sector could accelerate the process of ending the TB scourge though creating home based solutions to the problems and challenges hampering the fight against TB.

“A country level Stop TB partnership is also a vehicle to engage different actors in TB prevention and care to mobilise resources, to promote innovation and new approaches towards ending TB. Collectively, we are here to make sure that we mobilise resources that is what we need.

“We are supposed to promote innovation and equally develop new approaches to end TB. Specifically through this innovative multi-stakeholder approach, it engages non-traditional actors such as private sector, TB champions and celebrities to raise the profile of TB while working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) specifically the national TB program.”

The Stop TB partnership in Zimbabwe is hosted by the Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (JHWO) an advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which is headquartered in the Midlands province with offices around the country.

Meanwhile, National Professional Officer – Tuberculosis and Leprosy with the World Health Organisation (Zimbabwe) Dr Mkhokeli Ngwenya from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the target is now to eliminate TB to ensure Zimbabwe is freed from its burden.

“The global TB program came up with WHO End TB strategy which is sort of like a paradigm shift where we are moving from stopping to ending TB and the next strategy will be eliminating TB. In the End TB strategy, one of the key indicators is catastrophic costs. No one or any family suffering from TB should face catastrophic costs.

“Placing at the centre, all people are vulnerable to TB and we are grateful that now we have a platform such as Stop TB partnership Zimbabwe,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He added that TB should no longer just be government’s responsibility and should now be everyone’s core business.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Cassava Tech, Delta Beverages, Trafigura among other coporates.

 

 

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