ACCORDING to Centre for Diseases Control-Zimbabwe, (CDC-Zimbabwe), TB is a public health problem which causes significant morbidity and mortality locally. Zimbabwe is one of the eight countries in Africa designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being “high burden” for TB, TB/HIV co-infection and multi-drug resistant TB. Dr Zishiri, country director for The Union Zimbabwe, said through Challenge TB in Zimbabwe, the country had managed to make TB-HIV services integrated.
“Through our Challenge TB programme through the Ministry of Health and Child Care we have set up integrated services around the country where TB and HIV services are offered at the same one-shop-stop facility. I believe that more can still be done,” said Dr Zishiri.
Dr Zishiri implored the pharmaceutical industry to ease the pill burden by combining the two medications.
“I believe it is important that the pharmaceutical companies can think of combining treatment of TB and HIV, thereby lessening the pill burden,” said Dr Zishiri at a forum for Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV (MIPA) in Kwekwe recently.
The MIPA forum Mashonaland West chairperson, Mr Richman Rangwani, speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, said currently TB-HIV patients had too many tablets to take and he believed that the combination of the drugs would go a long way in easing the pill burden.
“Pill burden is high and it leads to lack of adherence. I am not a medical person, but I believe there is need to have lesser tablets or even come up with a combination tablet taking care of TB and HIV at the same time. Imagine that in the 90s life was not manageable with the two co-infections. It signalled a death sentence to most diagnosed with it, but today due to Science and technology a new lease of life has been offered. I believe a combination pill is the way to go,” said Mr Rangwani who is the founder of Simbarashe Network of People living with HIV in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West.
Mr Rangwani is also a pastor who believes that prayer is complementary to taking medication as prescribed.
“I am a pastor, I believe that prayer is complementary to taking medication as prescribed by the doctors,” he added.
Meanwhile, WHO reported that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives globally since 2000. The TB mortality rate has been lowered by 37 percent according to the ‘Global TB Report 2017’ released by WHO on October 30. Despite these achievements, the latest picture of TB is grim. TB remained the top infectious killer in 2016. TB is also the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance (resistance to antibiotics) and the leading killer of people with HIV.
Progress in most countries is stalling and is not fast enough to reach global targets or close persistent gaps in TB care and prevention, noted the WHO.
?”While the world is committed to end the TB epidemic by 2030, actions and investments do not match the political rhetoric. We need a dynamic, global, multi sectoral approach.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.
“The good news is that we finally have two great opportunities to move forward. The first WHO Global Ministerial Conference to end TB in Moscow in 2017, followed by the first UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB in 2018. These will build momentum, get different sectors engaged, and accelerate our efforts to make TB history.”?