Tanzania 18th on High-Burden Tuberculosis List

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The Peoples Republic of Tanzania is 18th on a list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis countries in the world, according to the World Health Organization, as per statistics in a medical journal on clinical infectious disease, released last December.

Also according to the World Health Organization, every year 9 million people are infected by the disease, while 2 million of them die every year.

Meanwhile “four cases of Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis” have been discovered by doctors at the PD Hinduja National Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, India

Questioned by journalist on the discovery, Tanzania Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr Haji Mponda, urged her compatriots to rest assured that “no known cases of Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis” have been reported in Tanzania.

All the same, because of the country’s ranking on the high-burden list, Tanzanian Government is working closely with researchers on TB drug-resistant cases in countries, such as India and China.

“I can assure my fellow citizens that, in Tanzania we have never found cases of drug-resistance in tuberculosis patients,” he said.

He said the ministry is taking a close look to ensure that the current drugs for TB treatment are effective, and nobody will die because of the disease.

Of the estimated 120,191new TB cases in 2007, 56,233 were sputum smear-positive (SS+), due to improved quality of services and evaluation; Tanzania met the World Health Organization’s global target of 85 percent in 2007 for treatment success.

However, the case detection rate for new SS+ TB cases remains low at 51 percent, well below WHO’s target of 70 percent. Case notification rates have fallen over the last three years. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is associated with a 60 percent increase in active TB in Tanzania.

Fifty percent of notified cases were tested for HIV in 2007, and the prevalence of HIV infection among TB patients is estimated at 47 percent.

Plans to expand treatment to HIV-positive TB patients will reduce the death rate, and plans to improve TB reporting systems will improve follow-up and reduce patient default rates.

Prevalence of multi-drug resistant TB remains low, with about 1,300 cases reported in 2007. Management of MDR-TB started in 2007, although preparations began in 2006 with the renovations of laboratories and patient facilities, procurement of new diagnostic tools, and recruitment of personnel.

Antibiotics to control tuberculosis have been available for more than half a century. But TB bacteria have shown a resilient capability to evolve drug-resistant varieties.

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