Disseminating results of the first national tuberculosis prevalence survey in the city on Friday, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi noted that the results show that TB is still a serious challenge facing the country.
“We shall increase more efforts in cooperating with all the partners to fight this disease in all fronts as the situation is really challenging,” said Dr Mwinyi, adding that the real TB situation in the country was not known, since data available were estimates only established by WHO.
According to him, Health Ministry through National TB and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) in collaboration with the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), jointly conducted the survey to find out the TB magnitude.
Earlier, the Centre Director who is NIMR Chief Research Scientist, Dr Sayoki Mfinanga said that the survey covered all regions in the Mainland and two from Zanzibar.
It was conducted from December 2011 to November 2012. According to Dr Mfinanga, 50,376 (76.8%) people participated and 6,283 (12%) of them were suspected to have contracted TB either by symptoms or by X-ray. Out of the suspects, 76 of them had their cases verified, meaning they had positive culture results judging from the specimens collected while 26 others were probable cases.
He added that the results have shown that TB is more prevalent among males compared to females. Similarly during this survey the prevalence of HIV infection among TB patients is 4.8 per cent and the prevalence of HIV in TB patients is 6.5 per cent.
The representative from WHO, Dr Rufaro Chatora said that Tanzania is among the first five African countries that completed such a survey, so it is a channel for other countries to learn.
“We used to think this is a scenario associated with an HIV related epidemic, but from the survey it has been established that half of those TB patients were in fact not HIV positive,” said Dr Chatora. Dr Chatora said that the country should now utilise the results and experiences for better planning, resource mobilisation and allocation.