‘Invest more in TB fight’

Source: ‘Invest more in TB fight’ | The Herald

‘Invest more in TB fight’
An X-ray showing a pair of lungs infected with TB (tuberculosis). – Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Herald Correspondent

A call has been made for the Government to invest more in Tuberculosis (TB) treatment as it has remained among the leading causes of death in Zimbabwe.

Last Thursday, Zimbabwe joined the world in commemorating World TB Day to galvanise global solidarity in the fight to end the scourge.

World TB Day is celebrated annually on March 24 and this year’s theme is, “Invest to End TB, Save Lives”.

The Union of Zimbabwe Trust said TB remained among the leading cause of death worldwide and until Covid-19, was the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/Aids.

The Trust said regrettably, each day close to 30 000 people fall ill from TB and over 4 000 succumb to the disease worldwide.

“This year’s theme comes at a time when global efforts are threatened by the pressures on health services due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While previous Global TB reports were full of promise on the trajectory of the global burden, the most recent report of 2021 makes grim reading.

“Notably, in 2020, the world fell significantly off track on most global targets. For the first time in close to a decade, estimated TB deaths increased globally

“The most obvious impact was the large drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with TB and reported, which fell by a fifth, from 7,1 million in 2011 to 5 million in 2020, way off the estimated 10 million people who developed TB in 2020.”

The Trust said only US$6,5 billion per annum was available for the TB response globally, which was less than a half of global commitments by world leaders.

“This despite evidence that TB interventions are some of the most cost-effective, with every US$1 invested in TB prevention guaranteeing US$43 return on investment. This year’s theme is a clarion call to sound the alarm that the chronic low funding for the global response cannot continue unchallenged.

“While we note the significant strides made by Zimbabwe in this fight, and celebrate our de-listing as a high TB burden country, we remain unsettled that we still remain among high burden countries for TB-HIV co-infection as well as drug resistant TB.

“We remain grateful that the cordial collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care has provided the right niche to make it happen.”