Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama says Zambia has made remarkable progress in reducing tuberculosis (TB) mortality over the last two decades.
Dr. Malama said the TB mortality factor has reduced by 60 percent between the year 2000 and 2020.
He explained that TB mortality had declined by 30 percent in 2020, adding that this achievement is just five percent short of the 35 percent landmark set out in the World Health Organisation (WHO) global end TB strategy milestone towards ending the TB epidemic in the world.
Dr. Malama said this in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Andrew Silumesi, the Director of Public Health during the dissemination of TB mortality study meeting in Lusaka today.
He said despite the high national average TB treatment success rate of more than 90 percent that has been achieved in the last 10 years, provinces such as Southern and Eastern still have TB mortality as high as 10 percent.
Dr. Malama further revealed that the dissemination of the TB study was cardinal to finding lasting solutions to the high mortality in the country and to keep the aspirations of eliminating TB in Zambia alive and a reality.
He has since thanked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for providing technical and financial support through the eradicate TB project managed by PATH and advisors seconded to the TB and Leprosy programme.
“We are grateful to all our partners and stakeholders for their support and continued dedication to this programme,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, USAID Zambia Health Office Deputy Director Elisa Adelman said her organisation remains committed to working with the Zambian government and other partners to combat and eliminate TB.
Ms. Adelman explained that supporting important data driven reports such as the TB mortality study will ensure that the latest data guides actions towards combating and eliminating TB.
“We must redouble our collective efforts to address TB and capitalise on the latest evidence to help us,” she said.
She observed that TB is a preventable and curable disease adding that no one should die from tuberculosis infection.
She further stated that studies show that TB adversely affects the labour force, depresses households’ savings and exhausts government budgets, a situation she said disrupts local economies.
“An estimated 14,000 Zambians die each year from TB which translates to not only individual loss but the loss of growth and well-being of an entire nation,” she added.
Ms. Adelman has since advised that the data findings of the dissemination of TB mortality study should be used to craft solutions and further tailor interventions to prevent unnecessary deaths from the disease.