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Council’s TB response hailed

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The Bulawayo City Council says it has managed to run an exemplary tuberculosis (TB) control programme that has achieved a good case holding of 3% defaulter rate against a national target of 5%.

Mayor Thaba Moyo said this had been achieved with assistance from Médicines Sans Frontières (MSF), a non-governmental organisation.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Amen Mpofu at a ceremony to mark the end of MSF’s operations in the city, Moyo said the partnership had seen the decentralisation of services to high-density areas.

He said administration of adolescent and pediatric anti-retroviral therapy (ART) had been decentralised to Luveve, Pumula, Maqhawe and Pelandaba clinics.

“We also worked closely on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) at Pelandaba clinics,” he said.

Moyo said the city had about 18 000 patients on ART excluding those receiving care from three central hospitals and the private sector.

He said the response to the “comprehensive” PMTCT programme was encouraging.

“At least 93% of mothers undergo HIV tests and HIV-infected mothers and their spouses are started on ART,” he said

MSF head of mission Mari Carmen Vinoles said her organisation was withdrawing support from HIV care and treatment programmes at Mpilo Hospital’s Opportunistic Infections Clinic and Bulawayo as a whole.

MSF Spain started operating in the city in 2003 in support of the government’s response to increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs, scaling up and rapid decentralisation of ART services in the country.

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