By Health Correspondent
THE Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down progress in the country’s fight against Tuberculosis and the Ministry of Health and Child Care is putting in place measures to meet the World Health Organisation target of ending the disease by 2035.
This comes as the globe commemorates World Tuberculosis Day this Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care this Wednesday hosted a virtual summit with various stakeholders to review the country’s fight against Tuberculosis.
Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga was clear on the need to raise public awareness on the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB.
“Zimbabwe along with the rest of the world agreed on an ambitious and powerful political declaration to accelerate progress towards End TB targets. The emergence of covid-19 in 2020 has disrupted the progress in our National TB response as evidenced by a sharp decline in TB notifications for both drug sensitive and drug resistant form of TB. This negative impact of covid-19 is mainly related to stigma and reduced accessibility to health services leading to delays in TB diagnosis and treatment initiation.
“‘The Clock is Ticking’, our efforts and focus on covid-19, should not make us forget that TB remains one of our major public health threats. The realisation calls for expansion and acceleration of integrated approaches given the similarity of some of the symptoms and signs of the two conditions. Now more than ever, we should redouble our support to raise awareness on TB, enhance the community and health system capacities. The initiative will reduce morbidity and mortality from this disease for our population,” he said.
Dr Charles Sandy from the Ministry of Health and Child Care acknowledges that the clock is ticking to achieve 100 percent treatment coverage.
World Health Organisation Country Representative, Dr Alex Gasasira is also attending the virtual meeting.
World TB Day is commemorated each year on the 24th of March to share successes in TB prevention and control while also raising awareness on the challenges that hinder progress towards the elimination of this devastating disease.