Zimbabwe needs to shift from depending on external support for Tuberculosis (TB) treatment and prevention programmes and come up with home grown solutions, Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.
Speaking during the World TB Day commemorations held at Selukwe Primary School in Shurugwi on Friday, Parirenyatwa said dependency on external support in the country is a cause for concern.
“80 percent of TB programmes in the country are supported externally and that is worrying.
“So we want you the private sector, churches, businessman, makorokoza and government to unite and give more monies, more resources to ourselves in the country and less dependency on external support,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said the biggest fear in the country at the moment is the Multiple Drug Resistant TB which does not respond to medication with 425 cases recorded in 2015 and has since increased to 437 cases last year.
He said another lethal type of TB that has been recorded is the ‘Extremely Drug Resistant’ TB which recorded five cases last year from 201 5’s four.
Parirenyatwa went on to say poor people among communities are more vulnerable to TB because of their living conditions.
The celebration in Shurugwi, as the Minister said, is a strategic move as mining towns are also recording more cases of TB.
He said prisons are also a breeding ground of TB alongside HIV as prevalence rate are very high compared to that of the country.
Last year alone, 10.4 million people fell ill to TB with 1.8 succumbing to the disease.
Decentralization of healthcare to ensure remote communities have access to such services as TB screening is essential in the country, Parirenyatwa added.
“We now want health workers to have outreach programmes, not them waiting for people to come to hospitals.
“Let’s do these outreaches so we get to the communities so that we work together with community groups, unions and our parliamentarians so that we spread that word that TB is a curable disease,” he said.
Before the celebrations, Parirenyatwa toured Shurugwi Hospital and expressed contentment with how the place is run besides having old buildings.
The commemorations were held under the theme ‘Unite to end TB: Leave no one behind’.