The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there has been a 26 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths between 2015 and 2021 in Africa.
Matshdiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said this in her message to mark 2023 World TB Day.
Ms Moeti said significant progress had been made in eradicating TB in Africa.
“WHO in the African region is now on the threshold of reaching a 35 per cent TB death reduction: there has been a 26 per cent reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2021. Seven countries — Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Zambia have reached a 35 per cent reduction in deaths since 2015,” stated the WHO official.
Ms Moeti said Nigeria has significantly increased its national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as expanding the daily observed treatment protocols.
She said others use digital technologies, community active case finding, and enlisting public-private mix initiatives and that through technical support, advocacy and effective partnerships, enormous progress has been made over the past decade, especially in East and Southern Africa.
According to her, high-burden countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia have surpassed or reached the 20 per cent target of reducing new TB cases.
Ms Moeti showed delight that member states are increasing the uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care and better outcomes.
She explained that the use of rapid diagnostic testing in African countries has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, thereby improving the countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.