Thorngrove to deal with tuberculosis

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Staff Writer
BULAWAYO — Drug resistant cases of Tuberculosis in the southern region of Zimbabwe will now be dealt with at Thorngrove Hospital in Bulawayo, the municipality’s health department has said.
According to the latest council report, Zimbabwe is preparing to tackle the problem by revamping its health sector.
“Zimbabwe is preparing to tackle the TB drug resistance problem through improving laboratory services, refurbishing infrastructure and training of health personnel,” the report says.
Drug resistant tuberculosis has emerged as a public health problem worldwide.
Extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that are resistant to the most effective anti-TB drugs and can be spread from one person to another.
At a national TB capacity building and policy dialogue platform meeting in Harare at the beginning of the year, it emerged that Zimbabwe’s public health system did not have the capacity to identify cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) yet.
The challenge facing Zimbabwe is that the only national TB reference laboratory in Bulawayo is unable to diagnose that kind of problem.
It was reported recently that there were people who were opting out of HIV and TB treatment regimes because they were unable to take the medication on empty stomachs.
Many Zimbabweans live way below the poverty datum line which has remained at an estimated $500 per month since dollarisation and are unable to afford decent meals.
Most Zimbabweans earn a monthly salary of about $150.
According to 2007 figures, Zimbabwe’s TB case detection rate was 42%, significantly lower than the WHO target of 70%.
The treatment success rate was 68% which also failed to meet the WHO target of 85% and doctors believe these statistics was a sign that MDR-TB could be a serious problem in the country.
MDR-TB is classified as any strain of the disease resistant to at least two first-line anti-TB drugs, such as Isoniazid and Rifampicin.
XDR-TB is relatively rare, occurring when the disease proves resistant to a number of both first and second-line anti-TB drugs.