Govt conducts TB survey

Violet Mwinuka, a volunteer with the Ndola Catholic Diocese homecare project, cares for a patient with TB and AIDS in Ndola, Zambia
Violet Mwinuka, a volunteer with the Ndola Catholic Diocese homecare project, cares for a patient with TB and AIDS in Ndola, Zambia

Government is conducting the first ever National Tuberculosis Survey in Zambia to estimate the prevalence rate of Tuberculosis in the country.

The exercise, which started in August, 2013, is expected to cost about US$4.6 million.

Ministry of Health Director, Technical Support Services, Reuben Kamoto Mbewe, said the objectives of the survey were to estimate the prevalence of sputum positive pulmonary TB and the prevalence of culture positive pulmonary TB.

Dr Mbewe said the TB survey was an important national undertaking which costs government huge amounts of money.

Speaking in an interview with ZANIS, Dr Mbewe said the survey is expected to run for a period of one year up to August 2014.

Dr Mbewe noted that the survey was an important undertaking which required the support of all Zambians.

“This is the first ever National TB Prevalence survey in Zambia and it is also the first fully digital survey in the world, and therefore requires the full support of all citizens in sampled areas,” he said.

He said different teams of both medical and non-medical practitioners have been formed and sent to various parts of the country to collect data needed for the survey.

“We have three field teams, three central laboratory teams, one central radiology team, one data management unit and a central coordination unit,” he said

Dr Mbewe added that the Ministry of Health was working along with other ministries such as Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs in carrying the National TB Survey.

He said the Central Statistical Office and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit were among the major stakeholders involved in the exercise.

And Western Province TB survey field team leader, Mashina Chomba, said the team was spending about seven days at each point to ensure that all the sampled people are attended to.

Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Sesheke yesterday Dr Chomba said the exercise was receiving varied support from the sampled people.

He urged the sampled households to utilize the exercise and know their TB status.

“Although the team is not providing treatment for TB during the exercise the participating patients have an opportunity to know their TB status and the team has provision to give referral forms for treatment for those found with sputum positive pulmonary TB” he said

Dr Chomba said the team was also working closely with local health centres to provide treatment to those who might require any form of treatment during the exercise.

The National TB survey team currently operating in Western Province is expected to move to Southern Province in Livingstone, Choma, Mazabuka and Monze districts to carry out the similar exercise.