Ex WENELA Miner Recounts Horrific Health Conditions

Talks TB exposure Squalid living arrangements Inhuman treatment & racism IN the mid-70s, at the height of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, South Africa opened up job opportunities in its mining fields with the aim of luring the young and youthful men mainly from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and others to work in the mines. By Michael Gwarisa Some say the call by South Africa to have young men work in their mine fields was a botched effort meant to distract young people from joining the liberation struggles in their respective…

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Global tuberculosis epidemic cannot be ended unless it is eliminated in India

THE 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health taking place in Hyderabad, India, has opened with a call to end the emergency of the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, now responsible for killing some 1.5 million people each year. “Ending the TB emergency starts right here in India,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), convenor of the Union World Conference, which is being held for the first time in India in half a century. The Indian government led by Prime…

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Scientists Move Closer To Unleashing TB Vaccine

THE Union against Tuberculosis (TB) and Lung Disease Scientific Director, Dr Paula Fujiwara said scientists were a step closer to releasing a vaccine for the deadly disease which has claimed millions of lives globally. By Michael Gwarisa He said this during the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health being held in Hyderabad, India  We are one more cautious, but exciting, step closer to a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB). A vaccine is the ultimate prevention tool and the announcement today is welcome news, but as researchers discuss how to move…

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The Union Commences Targeted TB Screening In Communities

THE International Union Against Tuberculosis (TB) and Lung Diseases has commenced targeted screening  in Seke and Chitungwiza, with the aim of identifying screening treatment and treatment initiatives on the spot. By Michael Gwarisa According to The Union, the program is targeting high HIV and TB risk groups which include People Living with HIV (PLHIV), former and present miners, congregate settings, smokers, people in contact with TB patients, the elderly, malnourished persons, under 5s, health workers, ex prisoners and lost to followup TB patients. The Union has already released screening schedules …

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Zim Annual TB Incidence Falls By 8%

CASES of new Tuberculosis (TB) infections have declined by 8% at the back of improved access to TB screening treatment and care at community level. By Michael Gwarisa The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) is defined as the number of new TB cases in one year per 100,000 population whereas  prevalence of tuberculosis is defined as the number of TB cases in a population at a given point in time (sometimes referred to as “point prevalence”) per 100,000 population Speaking at the Mid Term Review of the Zimbabwe National TB program,…

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Cross Boarder Activity Fertile Ground For Multi Drug Resistant TB

FOLLOWING a positive diagnosis of Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR TB) in 2010, life for Mr Mthobisi Ndebele (45) from Makokoba, Bulawayo unfolded like a horror movie script in front of his eyes. By Michael Gwarisa recently in Bulawayo Having worked as a Malayitsha for the better part of his life (cross boarder transporter) plying the South Africa /Zimbabwe route, he watched his fortunes fade into oblivion as his possessions, family, friends, and not forgetting his health vanish  into an abyss of uncertainty, leaving him broke, jobless and hopeless. At…

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Zim To Scale Up Communities Targeted TB Screening

THE Ministry of Health and Care (MoHCC) has set targets to expand targeted community screening for Tuberculosis (TB) in high risk areas, amidst indications that the national treatment coverage rate is still very low, currently at 71 percent against a national target of 90 percent. By Michael Gwarisa in Mangwe District Through a program dubbed Targeted Screening for Active TB among High Risk groups which is funded by The Global Fund and USAID Challenge TB and is being implemented by The Union and FACT, the initiative identifies priority districts every…

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HIV/TB Co-infection Drives TB Mortality In Matebeleland

MATEBELELAND province currently has the highest TB deaths standing at 19 percent as of 2018 owing to increased cases of HIV/TB co-infection, a health official has said. By Michael Gwarisa in Bulawayo In an interview on the side-lines of the World TB Day commemorations conference in Bulawayo which also marked the presentation of Zimbabwe’s first national TB patient cost survey which was done by the Ministry of health in collaboration with The Union through funding from USAID, Deputy Director Aids and TB Unit in the Ministry of health, Dr Charles…

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Stool-Based diagnosis Could Eradicate TB In Children

A simple method for processing stool samples for Xpert MTB/RIF testing using minimal equipment has been announced at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health and could enable the identification of thousands of children with  tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) disease – drastically reducing the numbers of children under five dying from TB. Currently, an estimated 239,000 children die every year from tuberculosis (TB). Children with TB rarely die when they receive standard treatment for the disease, but 90 percent of children who die from TB worldwide went untreated.…

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Expensive Drug Resistant TB Drugs Derail Treatment Efforts

People with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) continue to be deprived of today’s best-possible treatment in part because of high drug prices, according to a new report—DR-TB Drugs Under the Microscope— released today by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health in The Hague.   MSF called, in particular, on US pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to cut the price of the newer TB drug bedaquiline in half, so more lives can be Sed aved. In August 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended expanding…

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