THE Ministry of Health and Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has rolled out a tuberculosis (TB) screening exercise in TB high risks groups in the city, in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) End TB strategy.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The WHO End TB strategy seeks to reduce TB deaths by 95% and cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035.
It also seeks to ensure no family is burdened with TB associated expenses.
A recent council general purposes committee report shows that the council and the Health ministry will be partnered by the National TB Control programme, Challenge TB and the World Health Organisation in the TB screening exercise.
“The activity follows a mapping exercise that we conducted to prioritise districts according to risk for TB, and four provinces have already been covered to date with targeted screening for TB since 2016,” the report reads in part.
“The approach will help to make early TB diagnosis and treatment and hence curb further spread of the disease, and also result in an increase in our TB notification rate which is lower than our estimates.”
Suburbs chosen for the TB screening exercise include Cowdray Park, Old Lobengula, Old Magwegwe, Old Pumula, Nkulumane, Mabutweni, Iminyela, Mzilikazi, Makokoba, Njube suburbs, Robert Sinyoka, St Peters and Methodist Villages, Cabatsha and Ngozi Mine settlements as well as Bulawayo Prisons.
Tuberculosis is a deadly and infectious bacterial disease that kills millions annually, and the 2015 Global TB report shows that Zimbabwe has a TB prevalence rate of 350 per every 100 000 people, while the HIV co-infection in all TB cases is at 68%.
A 2016 Health ministry-commissioned survey titled Tuberculosis Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Communities in Zimbabwe shows that the lack of knowledge and information about TB is making it difficult to control the disease.
The study showed that 29% of respondents did not know how to prevent TB, while 81% indicated that they were not well-informed about the disease.