Bulawayo ups TB treatment success rate

22 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Bulawayo ups TB treatment success rate Mrs Nesisa Mpofu

The Chronicle

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
ABOUT 86 percent of Tuberculosis (TB) patients completed their treatment successfully in Bulawayo, a major achievement by the city in the first quarter of the year.

Previously the city had about 75 percent of its patients accessing and completing TB treatment.

TB remains one of the biggest killer diseases in Zimbabwe, especially among people living with HIV. Each day, close to 28 000 people fall ill to TB and nearly 4 000 people lose their lives to this preventable and curable disease.

While TB treatment and care is free in Zimbabwe, over 80 percent of those in need of TB services face catastrophic costs in trying to access the services.

These costs include transport costs and food among others as TB is regarded as the disease for the poor.

TB treatment can take anything from nine up to 12 months and sometimes the affected are tempted to default or delay treatment which often leads to deaths.

In Zimbabwe, it is estimated that 29 000 people fell ill from TB in 2020 and about 6 300 of these succumbed to the disease.

1 200 of those diagnosed cases had drug-resistant TB (DRTB).

Women of the reproductive age group (15-44 years) and men are mostly affected.

The TB incidence rate was 199 per 100 000 population in 2019.

A majority of TB deaths occurred in Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands and Bulawayo provinces which have between 11 percent and 18 percent death rates among TB patients.

The Zimbabwe TB epidemic is largely HIV-driven with a co-infection rate of 54 people in 2020. HIV testing in TB patients stood at 97 percent and ART coverage was 93 percent in 2020.

Statistics from the Bulawayo City Council show that despite treatment disruptions caused by Covid-19, 86 percent of patients completed their TB treatment.

“In Quarter 1 (January – March), a total of 454 TB patients were registered and 392 (86 percent) were successfully treated. The number of TB patients who died in that period was 56 (12 percent) and of the deaths four were DRTB patients. The treatment success rate is improving with the introduction of short- term regimens,” said council corporate affairs managers Mrs Nesisa Mpofu.

All patients who visit council run clinics are given the option to screen for TB and HIV.

Once the TB mycobacterium is identified, the patient is started on treatment promptly.

A shortened treatment regimen is now available for DRTB patients and if all is well treatment lasts for 9-12 months.

“The risk of getting TB increases if someone has immunosuppression and this can be due to HIV infection, malnutrition, kidney failure; diabetes and malignancy. The elderly, and young children are also at risk of getting TB in Bulawayo and the rest of the country,” said Mrs Mpofu.

She said living or working in close contact with someone who is suffering from TB and is not on treatment and overcrowding increase the risk of TB transmission.

Signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis include coughing for two or more weeks and the cough can be characterised by blood-stained sputum.

Chest pain or difficulty breathing, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite and loss of weight are some of the symptoms. – @thamamoe

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