Eritrea

Eritrea Observed World TB Day 2022

World TB Day was commemorated on 24 March 2022 in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea. The theme of World TB Day for 2022 was “Invest to end TB. Save lives”. TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and millions of people continue to fall sick with TB each year.

Strong political commitment, a community-based health system, and high community engagement in Eritrea significantly contributed to the declining burden of TB. The country is implementing the global recommended TB control strategies and services that are provided in public, non-governmental, and non-profit private health facilities. Since the implementation of the strategies, many TB cases have been identified and treated successfully, and many more lives have been saved. In Eritrea, everyone has free access to TB treatment and management.

During the event, the Director of Communicable Disease Control in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Araia Berhane said that the Government of the State of Eritrea with its partners has scored great achievements in the prevention and management of susceptible and drug resistance tuberculosis though some challenges need still to be addressed. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has put plans with evidence-based interventions to reduce TB prevalence to zero. Some of the interventions are:

  • To initiate an outreach service to reach the hard-to-reach areas with specialized diagnosis to increase TB detection.
  • To implement the management of susceptible TB and drug-resistant TB with 4 months of treatment and 6-9 months of treatment according to the updated WHO TB management guideline.
  • To initiate MDR TB management at community through DOTS strategy
  • To equip health facilities with GeneXpert machines including in remote areas.

At the end, Dr Araia appreciated WHO support and thanked MOH, MOE colleagues, teachers and students who made key TB presentations, and poems for increasing awareness in the community during the event.

On behalf of WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti and representing WHO Representative to Eritrea, Dr Martins Ovberedjo, Dr. Assefash Zehaie, ATM/Officer read RD’s message that to reach the target, TB incidence would have had to record an annual decline of 4% to 5% in 2020, increasing to 10% per year by 2025, and then to an average 17% annually in the following decade. She indicated that the world saw an increase in the number of global TB deaths for the first time in over a decade in 2021. Contributing factors to the deaths included reduced access to TB diagnosis and treatment, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that with 36% of all TB deaths occurring in Africa, failure to invest in the TB response is set to take a formidable toll on African countries.

Therefore, the call on governments is to mobilize additional domestic financial support for TB control, including contributions to the Global Fund, which last month launched its US$18-billion Seventh Replenishment campaign in a bid to counter the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on the fight against TB.

She urged all stakeholders to advocate for increased investment and to ensure that TB services are integrated into the primary health care response for maximum impact.

At the commemoration, higher officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Education, representatives from the National Union of Eritrean Women, National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, Health professionals, Students, teachers were present.

Prize winners of the contest who made presentations and read poems were awarded prizes.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Assefash Zehaie MD
MD, MSc Epidemiology
NPO ATM| FHP/CAH focal person
Program Support Cluster Coordinator
GPN Ext.: 34427
E-mail: zehaiea@who.int

Mrs Selam Berhane
Information Assistant
WHO Country Office Eritrea
Work Phone: +291 1 114171/114175
Ext: 34419
Email: berhanes@who.int