The New Times (Kigali)

Africa: Regional Anti-TB Centre Launched in Kigali

At least 88.3 per cent of patients who suffer from Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB) in Rwanda are successfully treated.

According to Dr Yves Mucyo Habimana, who is in charge of MDR TB at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, the country has effectively managed TB and other countries within the region are learning from it.

Habimana said this yesterday at the opening of the Regional centre of excellence on the programmatic MDR TB.

He, however, added that less than five per cent still die from MDR TB in Rwanda with 7,000 new cases of TB recorded every year, of which only between 80 to 90 cases account for MDR TB.

Prof Jean Baptiste Kakoma, the Director of National University of Rwanda/School of Public Health, said that with the establishment of the centre, they will ably provide technical assistance to regional countries.

"With the opening of the centre, neighbouring countries can train from here and learn how to control, diagnose and treat MDR TB. We are even starting specific courses on TB at the School of Public Health so we can't continue to tackle the disease within Rwanda and the region," he said.

He however pointed out some of the existing challenges they are still facing include inadequate funding, sustainability of the centre and human resource capacity.

Dr Angelica Salomao, in charge of TB in World Health Organization (WHO-Africa Region) said in other countries within the Africa region, MDR still get less attention compared to other related diseases.

"We hope that this centre will strengthen the capacity of managing MDR TB in the region and will expand programmatic management of TB. We don't have much time since we have only two years left to meet the MDG against Tuberculosis.

The global incidence rate is falling very slowly, but all regions of the world are on track to meet the MDG targets of halving TB prevalence and deaths by 2015.

There should also be a good monitoring and evaluation system," she said, adding that WHO will keep offering technical assistance to Rwanda in order to tackle MDR Tuberculosis.

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