Deputy director for Aids and TB programmes in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Charles Sandy confirmed the statistics. “This year alone, the ministry is stepping up efforts to reach 100 000 estimated number of people believed to be living with the disease in the country.
“Last year, we recorded 46 000 new TB cases up from 40 000,” Sandy said in an interview with Radio VOP.
Dr Sandy said provinces which recorded higher TB cases were Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands followed by Harare and Bulawayo.
He said progress in reaching the affected was being hindered by lack of resources.
“We are facing some problems in reaching all the districts and wards in the country. However, we are putting in place mechanisms to see to it that our people in the rural areas can also be tested quickly and put on treatment,” said Dr Sandy.
“In this light, plans are there to open at least two TB facilities in every district where people can be tested and receive treatment depending on geographical distribution.”
Dr Sandy also noted that the ministry was involved in the training of microscopists who he said were going to assist with the examination of patients.
“Microscopists will spend three months in class and nine months on practical attachment to bridge the gap caused by the lack of scientists,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sandy expressed concern on the influx of fake anti TB tablets that have flooded the black market.
“There are TB anti-body medicines on the black market and I strongly advise patients to stick to the proper TB treatment we give them at the medical centres. Only after a patient has been tested can he or she get on treatment.
“But now people without any testing are going after the anti-bodies and that can be disastrous,” said Dr Sandy.