Zim’s shocking TB mortality rate

HARARE – Zimbabwe has the second highest tuberculosis mortality rate in the world, the World Health Organisation has revealed.

"Nearly 69 percent of new adult TB patients tested in Zimbabwe were HIV positive. National data suggests that the actual estimate is slightly higher and there is increasing HIV surveillance in TB patients,” says a recent WHO report. “Multi-drug resistant TB remains low, and extensively drug-resistant TB has not yet been identified. These strains remain a threat because neighbouring countries have high levels of MDR and XDR-TB."

The WHO said Zimbabwe is currently ranked 17th on the list of 22 high burden TB countries in the world right now. The country had an estimated 71 961 new TB cases in 2007 with an estimated incidence rate of 539 cases per 100 000 people. "The number of new reported TB cases in Zimbabwe declined by 2,6 percent between 2006 and 2007," the report revealed. TB is among the top killers in the world today. It is even worse when a person is HIV-positive. "Even people living in Borrowdale are now dying of TB," a SAFAids official said. "It is no longer a disease for the poor only."

More than one in four cases of TB are in South Africa alone, with a WHO estimated case rate of 940 per 100 000.