HomeHealthLet’s talk about Tuberculosis

Let’s talk about Tuberculosis

Published on

By Elizabeth Sitotombe

ZIMBABWEANS looking to travel abroad are, in some cases, required to take compulsory tuberculosis (TB) tests. 

For instance, those planning to go to the UK and stay for over six months will need to have a TB test before entering that country.

Why? 

Tuberculosis is dangerous for any community as it spreads through airborne droplets that can stay in the air for hours thereby causing a high risk of infection for those in close proximity and Zimbabwe is on the list of countries affected by TB. 

The process takes quite a while.

After one has been screened for TB, there is need to get a TB clearance certificate if the tests are clear. 

The certificate will serve to confirm that one is free of lung TB.

The test must be from a clinic approved by the Home Office and one must obtain an IOM medical certificate confirming that one is free from TB.

Understanding TB

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that is spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. 

It is caused by bacteria (mycobacterium tuberculosis) and affects mostly the lungs. 

However, it can also affect any other part of the body, like the nervous system, bones, stomach and glands.

It is a condition considered serious, but the good news is that it can be treated with the right medication and is preventable.

Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Zimbabwe, it is one of the leading causes of death. 

Africa has the second highest TB burden worldwide, after South-east Asia. 

In 2019, there were an estimated 2,5 million TB cases in the African region accounting for 25 percent of the global burden, whereas it is estimated that 6 300 people lost their lives to the disease in Zimbabwe in 2019.

According to WHO, a total of 1,6 million people died from TB in 2021 (including 187 000 people with HIV). 

Worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 (above HIV and AIDS).

In 2021, an estimated 10,6 million people fell ill with TB worldwide — six million men, 3,4 million women and 1,2 million children. 

TB is present in all countries and age groups.

However, the 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87 percent of new TB cases. 

Of those 30, eight countries accounted for more than two thirds of the global total: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the DRC.

Zimbabwe was removed from the top eight countries in Africa on the world’s top 30 countries with the triple burden of TB. 

However, it remains on the WHO global watchlist for continuous attention and support from WHO as a priority country.

TB response in Zimbabwe

On January 17 2023, the country launched the Multisectoral Accountability Framework (MAF) for tuberculosis, a platform that brings Government and all stakeholders together in tackling the disease, thereby seeking to address the gaps that still exist in the country’s response to TB whilst ensuring that the progress being made toward ending the epidemic by 2030 is accelerated.

Zimbabwe’s TB national strategic plan is aligned to the country’s National Health Strategy 2021-2025 which is also aligned to the National Development Strategy 1.

The country has goals to reduce the incidence of all forms of TB by 80 percent from 242 per 100 000 to 48 cases per 100 000 by 2025. 

In the same vein, it also seeks to reduce mortality from all forms of TB by 80 percent from 40 per 100 000 to eight per 100 000 by 2025.

Symptoms of TB

  • a persistent cough that usually lasts for more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm and may be bloody;
  • night sweats;
  • weight loss;
  • tiredness and fatigue;
  • loss of appetite;
  • swelling in the neck.

Groups at high risk of contracting TB include, people living with HIV and AIDS, children younger than five years, people with malnutrition, those with diabetes mellitus, people who abuse substances, those with alcohol use disorder and tobacco smoking as well as those with cancer of the head, neck or lungs.

Tuberculosis is treatable and curable and in Zimbabwe treatment is free.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest articles

Hard times for CSOs…as US cosies up to Zimbabwe

By Kundai Marunya NEWS that the US government has stopped funding the activities of local...

ARTUZ sowing seeds of discord

By Elizabeth Sitotombe “The greatest villains are the ones who believe they are doing the...

Saboteurs must be nipped in the bud

By Golden Guvamatanga RECENT remarks by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that rogue elements within and outside...

Re-engagement: Ball now in West’s court

By Golden Guvamatanga  THE accelerated forays into Zimbabwe’s sound foreign policy by the EU, Britain...

More like this

Hard times for CSOs…as US cosies up to Zimbabwe

By Kundai Marunya NEWS that the US government has stopped funding the activities of local...

ARTUZ sowing seeds of discord

By Elizabeth Sitotombe “The greatest villains are the ones who believe they are doing the...

Saboteurs must be nipped in the bud

By Golden Guvamatanga RECENT remarks by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that rogue elements within and outside...

Discover more from Celebrating Being Zimbabwean

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading