Challenge TB (CTB), a programme that was funded under USAID’s TB strategy has brought positive results as it managed to increase treatment coverage of tuberculosis from 70 percent in 2014 to 83 percent in 2020 as it managed to penetrate hard to reach communities, Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
Challenge TB was a five-year flagship global mechanism for implementing USAID’s TB strategy as well as contributing to TB/HIV activities under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).
The lead partner in implementing the grant in Zimbabwe was the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Dieses (The Union), working closely with collaborating partners.
The collaboration partners are World Health Organisation (WHO), KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, who were also the prime for the global grant across more than 20 other countries.
In Zimbabwe, CBT supported the Ministry of Health and Child Care aligning project activities to national priorities in the TB-HIV response.
Speaking during the Challenge TB close out ceremony that marked the end of the USD$25 million funding, Dr Moyo hailed strides made in trying to eradicate tuberculosis.
“Throughout the five-year journey, Challenge TB support in Zimbabwe prioritized four important strategic areas of focus.
“Firstly, finding missed TB patients within the routine health delivery system and hard to reach communities, promptly initiating on treatment to optimize treatment outcomes,” said Dr Moyo.
He added; “As we mark an end to a five-year journey with Challenge TB, we celebrate some collective strides in the national response. Our estimated treatment coverage now stands at 83%, up from 70% in 2014.
“TB incidence has climbed down to 210 per 100, 000 populations in 2018, from 278 per 100 000 populations in 2014.
“Despite these gains, deaths from TB still remain unacceptably high, at 15% among notified TB clients, likely attributed to late treatment seeking behavior and important comorbidities such as HIV and Diabetes,” said Dr Moyo.
He said no one should die from TB as it is treatable.
Dr Moyo thanked the The Union who were the leading implementing partner of the grant in Zimbabwe working with the World Health Organisation as well as other partners like KNCV Tuberculosis foundation.
The Minister hailed the generosity of the American people in funding this aid adding this is not the end of the US government commitment to fight TB in the country.
“Dear colleagues, on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe, allow me to once again acknowledge the continued generosity of the American people and the donor community at large.
“Challenge TB may have come and gone, yet the fight rages on, and the war is yet to be won. I’m aware this does not mark the end of US government commitment to this fight.
“We look forward to your continued support through the TB local organization network initiative, likely to build stronger local institutions, better adapted to our local needs, in our shared journey towards self-reliance,” Dr Moyo said