Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has entered into a partnership to scale up the treatment and prevention of Tuberculosis (TB) under an initiative called Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe (STPZ).
The initiative comes at a time when Government efforts in the fight against TB are bearing fruit.
In an interview, the Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe Chairperson, Mr Ronald Rungoyi, said the partnership was in response to an interest by organisations from the private sector and civil society to work together with the Ministry of Health in intensifying efforts to fight TB in the country.
Mr Rungoyi said the participation of various organisations under the initiative will promote availability of a broad range of medical, social and financial expertise needed to fight against TB.
He said the Stop TB programme is part of a global movement established in 2001 meant to push TB up the political agenda.
“The Stop TB Partnership is a country level Stop TB Partnership platform for Zimbabwe which was formed under the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s AIDS and TB Unit through the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme with support from Stop TB Partnership. It is one of many other country level partnerships under the Global Plan to end TB by next year which was initially made possible with support from Global Fund, the World Health Organisation and USAID Challenge TB project under the Union and WHO Zimbabwe,” Mr Rungoyi said.
“In Zimbabwe the Stop TB Partnership is currently being hosted by the Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (JHWO), a local Non-Governmental Organisation. It will enable the Ministry of Health and various organisations from different sectors to work collaboratively towards TB prevention, treatment and care. All partners will contribute from their core competences and collectively catalyse an innovative approach towards ending TB in the country.”
Mr Rungoyi said the key agenda of the Stop TB Partnership is to mobilise adequate resources to fight the disease as it remains the world’s biggest infectious killer disease.
He said it also seeks to ensure that TB patients have access to effective diagnosis, treatment and cure.
“The primary function of the country-level Stop TB Partnership (STPZ) platform is to foster high-level advocacy for resource mobilisation, policy change, co-ordination of partners and experience sharing. The Government’s main focus through the initiative at the moment is to find and treat TB early in order to reduce the burden, increase survival and treatment success among TB clients,” said Mr Rungoyi.
He acknowledged that various initiatives implemented by Government to address TB in previous years have contributed to a decline in the number of new TB incidents for the past five years due to improvement in diagnostic access and continued capacitation of healthcare workers.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released statistics which showed that Zimbabwe recorded the highest decline in TB cases in Africa by 10 percent between 2010 and 2017.
WHO attributed the success in the fight against TB to a number of intervention programmes being rolled out by Government. — @michellzvanyanyan2