26 May 2016

Southern Africa: World Bank Boosts Southern Africa Efforts to Fight TB & Lung Disease

press release

$122 million injection for regional project into TB battle

Southern Africa's capacity to mount an effective regional response to tuberculosis (TB) and occupational lung diseases today got a boost following the World Bank Group's Board approval of a US$122 million regional project to support efforts to tackle the scourge of TB in four of its affected countries Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. It will also help strengthen these countries health systems.

This Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health System Support Project will target mining communities, regions with high TB burdens of TB or HIV/AIDS, transport corridors, and cross-border areas of the four target countries. Its primary beneficiaries will be TB-affected individuals and households in line with the World Bank Group's goal to support the most vulnerable by ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. This includes the prevention of communicable diseases, which have a disproportionate impact on the poor.

"Regional collaboration and the capacity for health systems to monitor, track and share information as well as timely respond to diseases is critical to effective TB control in a region which is at the epicenter of the dual TB and HIV AIDS epidemic. This project will help the four countries build a truly regional response to an epidemic that knows no borders," said World Bank Country Director for Regional Integration, Moustapha Ndiaye.

Accounting for a third of the world's 22 countries with highest TB burdens, Southern Africa is at the epicenter of the dual epidemic of TB and HIV/AIDS. Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia are no exception with high levels of TB/HIV coinfections and related mortality as well as increased risk of multidrug-resistant TB against a background of large-scale or growing mining sectors which is a contributor to this health challenge. Close intraregional economic activity has created a fertile ground for spreading diseases across porous borders, underscoring the need for coordinated regional actions.

This project epitomizes the strong commitment and leadership of the four countries in working across sectors and borders to address these health challenges. Its preparation benefited from close collaboration with the Global TB Branch, Division of HIV and TB, of the United States Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention which provided technical support in TB control. This collaboration is expected to continue during project implementation.

The design of this project draws on existing country efforts and global lessons in TB control as well as the recent Ebola emergency in West Africa which demonstrated that collaboration and systems building can help countries to better respond to emerging disease threats. The project will also be closely coordinated with other related national and regional efforts in the sub-region.

It also promotes the use of best-buy interventions and facilitates innovations and learning across countries. The project has three mutually reinforcing components: innovative prevention, detection and treatment of TB; strengthening the region's capacity for disease surveillance, diagnostics and management; and supporting regional learning and innovation and project management.

* The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

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