Govt scales up TB programme
Tuesday 27 September 2005
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ZAMBIA: Govt scales up TB programme

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

LUSAKA, 17 March (PLUSNEWS) - The Zambian government aims to scale up the country's tuberculosis (TB) control programme to achieve a cure rate of 80 percent.

"We have exceeded the 70 percent WHO [World Health Organisation cure rate] target. We are being realistic in targeting 80 percent," Health Minister Brian Chituwo told PlusNews. "The TB cure rate in Zambia has improved from 64 percent to 73 percent in the past year."

In 2004 Zambia had 58,000 diagnosed cases of TB. Chituwo linked the increase in the number of TB patients, from 12,000 cases in 1986, to the prevalence of HIV. Lusaka, the capital, the Copperbelt region and Southern province accounted for 80 percent of the country's TB cases.

The government also aims to ensure a continuous supply of TB drugs over the next four years, but inadequate human resources were an impediment to reaching the 80 percent TB cure rate. Chituwo said the government was engaging co-operating partners to address the problem.

"I think we can reach the target, though the bottleneck is the less than optimal staffing levels - we have to train more people in districts in administering TB treatment," he added.

"In some districts the staffing levels are about 50 percent, while the national average is 55 percent. This is the issue we have been engaging with our co-operating partners about," he explained. "What is the use of this money [from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria] if we don't have human resources?"

The authorities have been negotiating with co-operating partners to support the training of more staff to administer TB drugs. Chituwo said incentives, such as hardship allowances and car loans for doctors serving in rural areas, although low, were proving helpful in addressing the staff shortages in rural districts.

"This will also help us scale up antiretroviral therapy (ART) [as well]. We also need to give incentives to critical staff," he added.


Recent ZAMBIA Reports
Community benefits from free ARVs,  13/Sep/05
Agencies step in to address HIV/AIDS in prisons,  5/Sep/05
Civic groups call on MPs to be more proactive in HIV/AIDS fight,  1/Sep/05
HIV/AIDS affecting quality of education,  2/Jun/05
Community group project funds ARVs,  30/May/05
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000

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