Zimbabwe On Track to Achieve the 2020 Global End TB Strategy Milestones

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the world's deadliest infectious killer. Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000. In Zimbabwe it is estimated that about 30,000 people fall ill of TB each year and about 4,600 of these, die.

To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets - Heads of State came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever United Nations (UN) high Level Meeting on TB (UN-HLM-TB) in September 2018. The President of Zimbabwe, His Excellence, President Emmerson Mnangagwa attended this historic UN-HLM-TB that brought together world leaders to accelerate the TB response in New York.

The 2019 WHO Global TB report reveals that Zimbabwe is making progress to End TB. Zimbabwe managed to achieve very high rates of tuberculosis treatment coverage and is one of the four high burden TB countries that managed to achieve rates above 80% reaching 25,775 people notified. In that report Zimbabwe was also noted to be one of the seven high burden countries that are on track to achieve the 2020 Global End TB Strategy milestones for reduction in TB incidence rate and TB deaths. However, despite this progress, TB remains one of the major causes of death in the country. Zimbabwe also continues to be one of the 14 countries worldwide that appears in all the 3 lists of WHO 30 High burden Countries for TB, TB/HIV and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR/TB) based on their severity of disease burden. Each of these 3 lists account for about 90% of the global burden.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care's (MoHCC) National TB Programme (NTP) has scaled up TB diagnosis using the WHO recommended Rapid diagnostic tests with 87% coverage, introduced shorter and safer preventive TB treatment regimens, introduced child friendly formulations and a shorter all oral (injection free) treatment regimen for treating MDR-TB. In a bid to scale up finding TB cases in communities that are hard to reach, the NTP is conducting targeted active TB screening in these communities at high risk using mobile X-ray trucks.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affects the lungs although other parts of the body such as the brain, heart and bones can be affected. It is spread from person to person through the air when people with TB cough, sneeze or spit. In Zimbabwe screening, diagnosis and treatment for TB is provided free of charge at all public health institutions.

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