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Zimbabwe to roll out new tuberculosis preventive therapy

by Staff reporter
13 Dec 2019 at 07:24hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has said it will roll out new tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy next year to curb the infectious disease.

Speaking during a training workshop on TB reporting in Kadoma last week, Deputy Director in the Aids and TB Unit in the Health Ministry, Dr Charles Sandy said preventive therapy is a strategy for reducing the outbreak of TB.

Dr Sandy said they have been using isoniazid taken daily for six months but the new preventive therapy strategy is meant to reduce the pill burden and decrease possible development of resistance.

"The introduction of two or more drugs which are combined in a fixed ratio into a single dosage form, termed as fixed dose combinations (FDCs), reduce the obligation for the patients to be taking a lot of medication," he said.

"The new treatment strategy is the use of combination of isoniazid and rifapentine which will be taken once in three months." He said the drugs are already available in the country, and will be rolled out early next year. Dr Sandy said the group of patients that is at high risk of TB are miners.

"As we are pushing for TB prevention, we have expanded a group that should get prevention therapy which are miners. This group has a high prevalence of pulmonary TB, which is significantly associated with dust and silica exposure, even in the absence of silicosis," he said. Dr Sandy said it is important to rule out the presence of Active TB before introducing someone on preventive therapy.

"If you were to give therapy to someone with TB, you are essentially giving monotherapy to someone with TB and that will lead to the creation of resistance," he said. The Ministry is also planning to increase mobile laboratory trucks in all provinces to curb the disease.

"Our aim is that each province should have its own mobile unit, which is composed of digital X-ray machine, GeneXpert machine and other screening equipment to screen diseases like TB, HIV and diabetes," said Dr Sandy.

Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe Chairperson, Mr Ronald Rungoyi, said the mobile trucks bridge a gap between communities and health facilities.

Source - chronicle