THE government says many TB cases in children are going untreated as it is difficult to diagnose it in children. National TB programme director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Charles Sandy, told NewsDay that they were now retraining health workers on the need to diagnose TB in children.
“There are a lot of missed TB cases in children and this is due to the difficulty in diagnosing children,” Sandy said.
“The basis of TB diagnosis is sputum and children normally don’t have capacity to cough up sputum, hence it becomes a challenge.”
Sandy said around 10% children who were affected by TB, but they were only reaching 8%. He said there was need to find a way to diagnose the disease in children, as a way to reduce the disease burden.
“The aim to strengthen TB diagnosis in children is to re-train health care workers,” Sandy said. “We can now also use the gene expert machines and this can be helpful in detecting TB in children, and so we will be expanding the use of the gene expert machines.”
He said although they did not have enough machines, they were looking at having more by end of year.
“So far we have 60 machines. We don’t have the desired machines to cover all districts, but we will be receiving 45 more gene expert machines by end of year which will be of help,” Sandy said.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the world that have a high burden of TB.