Principal Secretary (PS) for Malawi's Ministry of Health and Population, Dr. Dan Namarika, has disclosed that the African Continent accounts for almost 25 percent of all the global tuberculosis (TB) and continues to live under ever-growing threat of drug resistant, multi-drug resistant and extensively drug resistant TB.
Cossa assured countries of World Bank committement to fund TB fight - Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times Namarika calls for greater and concerted efforts in TB fight in Africa. fight - Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Namarika said despite successes being registered in the fight against these challenges, the continent is faced with diagnostic, treatment and care dilemmas, especially in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region where resources are scarce.
The PS made the remarks on Tuesday when he officially opened the sixth Regional Advisory Committee for the Southern African African Tuberculosis and Health Systems Supuort Project (RAC-SATBHSSP) in Lilongwe.
The meeting, which has been financially supported by the World Bank, has drawn participation from Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique and the host Malawi.
"Malawi, for example, is a high burden TB/HIV country and we are aware that some of the countries in the project are high burden TB countries. Our continent, despite being home to only 14 percent of the global population, accounts for almost 25 percent of all the global TB cases and we continue to live under ever-growing threat of drug resistant TB incidences," said Namarika.
However, the PS emphasized that declarations and commitments the region's Heads of States and Governments demonstrate high level political commitment to end the scourge.
Namarika therefore challenged the delegates to take the high level political commitment as a huge opportunity for them to "leave no stone unturned to make the ultimate goal of ending TB a reality".
"We can detect these missing TB patients and put them on treatment; we can prevent further spread of the drug resistant TB; we can provide preventive therapy to all at high risk of developing the disease, including our children if we all move beyond these declarations and act.
"I call upon all the countries represented here, our cooperating partners, civil society, TB survivors, the media, to do everything possible to attain the country specific 2022 United Nations High Level Meeting targets," he said.
The World Bank Head of the RAC-SATBHSSP, Dr. Humberto Albino Cossa, said although the bank is impressed with the progress the region is making in ending the disease, the four countries have a long way to go to completely deal with the monster.
Cossa assured that the bank remains committed to providing more support to the region to ensure it achieves its goals on the TB fight.