Bulawayo Bureau

Tuberculosis treatment coverage has increased by 13 percent in Zimbabwe during the past five years, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.

In a statement, Minister Obadiah Moyo, said the coverage of tuberculosis treatment now stood at 83 percent, up from 70 percent in 2014, showing that the interventions being rolled out were bearing fruit.

Dr Moyo said in 2014, the country received more than US$25 million from Challenge TB through the United States Agency for International Development, a five-year global funding to help scale up prevention and treatment of tuberculosis in Zimbabwe.

These funds enabled the ministry to mobilise adequate resources to fight the infectious disease.

“Zimbabwe is one of the 19 countries whose TB control campaigns were awarded more than US$25 million through Challenge TB, the new funding mechanism for global TB response launched by the United States Agency for International Development,” said Dr Moyo.

Dr Christopher Zishiri from The Union, an international health organisation, said the increase in TB treatment coverage has further resulted in the decline in the incidence rates by 25 percent, meaning a quarter fewer people are now being infected, and a cut in mortality by 49 percent, meaning that just over half as many infected people are dying of the disease.

Tuberculosis is more likely among those infected with HIV since it is one of the infections more likely to attack those with damaged immune systems.

“The antiretroviral therapy uptake among co-infected patients has also increased from 68 percent in 2014 to 91 percent.

“The HIV prevalence among TB patients has also declined from 68 percent to 62 percent,” he said.

In December last year, Government said it will roll out new tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy this year as a strategy to fight the disease.