By EMILY KUWEMA –
HEALTH Minister Chitalu Chilufya has said the newly launched National Tuberculosis Strategic Plan and Programme Guideline will enhance TB detection and help reduce TB related deaths from the current 17, 000 to 10, 000 by 2021.
Available statistics show that preventable diseases kill nearly 17, 000 people every year in Zambia, with 47 deaths recorded daily being attributed to TB.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) 62,000 people fell ill due to TB in 2017 in Zambia. However, a third of these TB cases are not detected meaning that they continue to infect others in the community and are at high risk of dying,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said this in Lusaka yesterday in a speech read by his Permanent Secretary Elwyn Chomba at the launch of the Plan.
The Strategic Plan for 2017/21, which was aligned to the National Health Strategic Plan 2017/21 and other domesticated international instruments, would collectively help eliminate TB by 2035.
Dr Chilufya said through the plan, the Government intended to scale-up patient-centered TB care services which would be provided close to communities.
The plan, which required USD$150 million to be actualised, would assist in reducing huge costs involved in TB treatment to enable more patients access the services.
The Government also launched the two peripheral documents which would guide diagnosis and management of drug sensitive and drug resistant TB.
WHO representative Mary Bwalya urged the Government to scale up domestic funding for TB control and take responsibility for essential medicines and laboratory supplies.
“We also call on community leaders, patient advocacy groups and people affected by TB to partner with Government to ensure access to treatment for all,” Dr Bwalya said.