Zambia’s TB treatment success cheers USAID
Written by Millennium on July 21, 2019
KETRA KALUNGA writes
THERE is an improvement in the number of tuberculosis (TB) patients in Zambia that are completing treatment thereby reducing transmission of the disease, says United States Agency for International Development (USAID) country representative George Sinyangwe.
Dr Sinyangwe said Washington has continued to be a partner in Zambia’s success in combating TB and has since 2004 provided over $140 million towards eliminating the disease.
He was speaking when USAID handed over a refurbished Kabwe Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB ward in Bwacha Township, to the ministry of health.
Dr. Sinyangwe, however, pointed out that success for MDR TB in Zambia still lagged behind at 67 percent, adding that only a quarter of the estimated cases were identified leading to an increase in TB cases and deaths, a scenario he said Zambia should change.
“We will continue to partner with Zambia to accelerate the elimination of TB in partnership with the Ministry of Health through the provincial health office and USAID to eradicate TB in Central Province,” said Dr Sinyangwe.
At the same function Central province minister, Sydney Mushanga said MDR TB was another emerging national health threat and his region had seen in an increase in the number of such cases with about 103 MDR TB patients being treated across the province.
Mr. Mushanga who was guest of honor said MDR TB was costly and difficult to treat than the drug-susceptible TB which unfortunately was not only a burden to government alone but the patients as well.
He said in order to reduce the cost incurred by patients to access treatment for MDR TB and prevent further spread of the disease, the government has through the ministry of health decentralized MDR TB treatment.
“Decentralizing MDR TB demands that we also improve on the infrastructure hence the renovation of the MDR TB ward we are commissioning today,” said Mr. Mushanga.
He said the ward would reduce MDR TB cases through enhanced treatment because the disease was curable as evidenced by the current treatment success of 71 percent compared to 33 percent in 2014.
The refurbished ward with specialized ventilation and anti-bacterial lamps has a capacity for 14 patients and separate wards for women and men and rooms for all patients with drug-resistant TB.