ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct an external review of programmatic management of Tuberculosis Preventive Therapy (TPT) in the country.

In 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe introduced shorter regimens for TPT through the MoHCC to ensure that high risk people including people living with HIV have access to shorter and safer tuberculosis preventive therapy to prevent them from developing TB disease.

Zimbabwe also adopted and adapted the new WHO consolidated guidelines on tuberculosis and the country has been identified as one of the countries in the world that has shown impressive progress in the rollout of shorter TPT.

The external review on tuberculosis preventive treatment was an opportunity for Zimbabwe to have a deeper understanding of lessons learnt so far in implementation of TPT with an aim to inform future strategies and further accelerate the critical intervention rollout.

At the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UNHLM on TB), held on 26 September 2018, one of the major commitments was to rapidly scale up access to testing and treatment of TB infection and provide 30 million individuals with TB preventive treatment (TPT)

Funded by UNITAID, the external review of the tuberculosis preventive treatment held in Zimbabwe from 5th July – 8th July 2022 was an opportunity for the country to share best practices with other countries across the globe.

Other funding sources for the external review of programmatic management of Tuberculosis Preventive Therapy in Zimbabwe include the Global Fund, PEPFAR, USCDC, UNITAID and USAID among other relevant partners.

In addition, the review will compliment increasing investments across the TB continuum of care for household contacts of TB patients through strengthening contact investigation efforts as an entry point to TB treatment and TB Preventative Therapy.

The event brought together TB experts from key partners and researchers such as Aurum Institute, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Foundation, Jointed Hands, Rehabilitation and Prevention of Tuberculosis (RAPT), Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe, The Union Zimbabwe Trust.

The external review on preventive treatment comes at a time when Zimbabwe is heavily burdened by TB, TB/HIV and Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) for instance 11.58% of the country’s adults are living with HIV and the TB estimated incidence was 193/100,000 people in 2020.

MoHCC Deputy Director AIDS and TB Programmes Dr Charles Sandy acknowledged the support provided by donor organizations and technical partners, noting that a report based on the review will be produced that will help Zimbabwe develop an action plan to strengthen the roll out of TB preventive therapy.

Moreover, the review will assist the country to enlist key bottlenecks in national scale up of TPT services such as funding, human resources, health worker capacity, procurement and supply chain management and identify areas for strengthening of programmatic management of TPT at different levels.

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