TB still serious challenge facing Tanzania.

24Mar 2016
The Guardian
TB still serious challenge facing Tanzania.

World Tuberculosis Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.3 million died from the disease, mostly in the Third World.

World TB Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Hepatitis Day and World AIDS Day.

News have it that China's is to launch a two-year national survey on patient resistance to drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB). The situation of tuberculosis drug-resistance in worldwide is thought to be very serious. The international organizations estimate Chinese account for 25 to 33 per cent of the world's total infections.

TB prevalence in Tanzania is still high at 295 smear positive cases per 100,000 adult population, compared to 261 cases per 100,000 adults which was projected by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Disseminating results of the first national tuberculosis prevalence survey in the city in 2013 by the Minister for Health and Social Welfare noted that the results show that TB is still a serious challenge facing the country.

Incidence of tuberculosis (per 100;000 people) in Tanzania was last measured at 327 in 2014, according to the World Bank. Incidence of tuberculosis is the estimated number of new pulmonary, smear positive, and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis cases.

Tanzania is the 15th among 22 countries with most TB patients. It is mentioned that the number of patients in the country increase rapidly from 11,000 people in 1984 to 62,000 in 2006. Increased also up to 63,892 in 2012 and in 2013 reached 65,000.

The WHO “Global Tuberculosis Report 2013” noted that Tanzania has reached a treatment success rate of 88 per cent among smear-positive cases and a smear-positive case detection rate of 79 per cent.

Despite these laudable accomplishments, TB and TB/HIV co-infection continue to pose a substantial burden on the health system in Tanzania and remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality; almost 40 per cent of all TB patients with known HIV status are co-infected with HIV.

Similar to other high-burden countries for TB, Tanzania's National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) is investing in training, new diagnostic technologies, implementation of TB/HIV collaborative activities, infection prevention and control, community-based approaches, and other activities to improve case detection and to build on their accomplishments in treatment success.

In the same vein, March 24 commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing to a small group of scientists at the University of Berlin's Institute of Hygiene that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.

According to Koch’s colleague, Paul Ehrlich, “At this memorable session, Koch appeared before the public with an announcement which marked a turning-point in the story of a virulent human infectious disease.

In clear, simple words Koch explained the aetiology of tuberculosis with convincing force, presenting many of his microscope slides and other pieces of evidence.”

At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.

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