Combined effort to eliminate TB

According to a report from the Ministry of Health, in 2022 alone, not less than 19,000 people, that is equivalent to two deaths in every hour, died because of TB. WHO report also indicated that 30 percent of TB cases go undetected; resulting in unnecessary death. Several factors are contributing to the death of individuals at such an alarming rate.

Limited access to proper healthcare service, poor awareness about the cause as well as negligence from the sides of individual patients regarding the care they have to take to fully recover from the illness and other similar cases are challenging the efforts undertaken to successfully contain the disease. This is especially true in rural areas, where infrastructural development and the level of public awareness about the disease, is low.

Addressing TB-related challenges requires a comprehensive approach involving international cooperation, investment in human capital, sustainable development practices, and good governance. It is also crucial to empower countries with the necessary resources, technology transfer, and capacity building to overcome these challenges and achieve the desired outcome.

Taking this into consideration, the Ministry of Health is working aggressively to contain and halt the spread of the disease. By employing all the available means and mechanisms that are key to control and prevent the transmission of TB and other related diseases, the Ministry has been executing activities such as ensuring access to TB treatment, arranging training programs for health practitioners, as well as conducting research and pursuing innovative approaches joining hand with local and international partners.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the agencies working actively to control the transmission and prevention of TB cases in Ethiopia.

Lately, Mission Director of the Agency, Scott Hocklander has announced that USAID-Ethiopia has completed a three year project planned to identify, treat and prevent TB in rural areas and render support to health practitioners engaged in the treatment and prevention activities.

As indicated by the Director, USAID granted 390 GeneXpert machines to Ethiopia; which enable health institutions to examine TB cases within a short time. What is more, it also offered six million USD to back TB programs running in Ethiopia for this fiscal year.

The Director stated that USAID will continue its support for activities carried out to diagnose and treat TB, supply drug and medical equipment as well as provide professional training. According to him, USAID Ethiopia together with the Ministry of Health strives to achieve more and combat the transmission of TB by 2030.

Currently, it has 40 projects that work to improve access to and deliver quality healthcare services, strengthen the health system and improve communities` knowledge and awareness regarding good health practices.

What is more, as a concerned Agency for health, the Agency together with Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Service (EPSS) has recently signed MOU to implement the Last Mile Project, an initiative to ensure the timely distribution of medical supplies to healthcare facilities in four hubs- two in Addis Ababa and others in Bahir Dar and Jimma. It is said that the project ensures safe and fast delivery of medicines to target places.

It is well known that the Ethiopian Ministry of Health has been at the forefront of combating the transmission of TB in the country. Using all the available resources and partners` involvement, the Ministry is working aggressively to eliminate TB and improve public health across the country. Through its series of activities and initiatives, the Ministry has been working tirelessly to reduce the burden of TB, enhance preventive measures, and ensure access to quality care for those affected by the disease.

As indicated by Minister of Health, Mekdes Daba (MD), Ethiopia has achieved encouraging results in the prevention and control of TB. However, she said that TB patients are still stigmatized and the efforts to eliminate the problem must be strengthened.

Indeed, the Ethiopian government is working aggressively to prevent TB and other related diseases by allocating a great deal of money from its own budget and resources gained from donors to this same objective That is why it has recorded promising results in areas of TB transmission and also witnessed by the WHO.

The Ministry of Health is also conducting extensive awareness raising campaigns to sensitize the public about TB, its transmission, symptoms, and treatment options. The campaigns aim to reduce stigma, increase an early detection, and promote health-seeking behaviors.

In collaboration with healthcare facilities and community health workers, the Ministry has also been implementing widespread screening and diagnostic programs to identify TB cases at early stage. By expanding access to testing services, more individuals are receiving timely diagnosis services and appropriate treatments.

Ensuring access to TB treatment is a priority for the Ministry of Health. Through various healthcare facilities and treatment centers, individuals diagnosed with TB have received the necessary medications and advice to follow their treatment strictly and successfully.

Contact tracing efforts are also crucial in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to TB and preventing further transmission ways. In this respect, the Ministry conducts rigorous surveillance activities to track TB cases, monitor trends, and implement targeted interventions.

Training programs for healthcare workers are also instrumental in improving TB management and care delivery. Using the available resources, the Ministry is providing ongoing training on TB diagnosis, treatment protocols, infection control measures, and patient-centered care to enhance the capacity of healthcare providers.

Research studies and innovative approaches that are key components of the Ministry’s strategy to combat TB transmission are also carried out effectively. By investing in research, the Ministry is working to develop evidence-based interventions, improve program effectiveness, and advance TB control efforts.

Collaborating with local and international partners, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders is vital for the Ministry’s TB control initiatives. Through partnerships, resources are pooled, expertise is shared, and collective action is taken to address TB transmission comprehensively. However, despite all its effort, there are still areas that need to be filled.

In conclusion, the Ministry of Health’s commitment to combating TB transmission and promoting public health is evident through its multifaceted approach, which includes awareness campaigns, screening programs, treatment services, research endeavors, and collaborative efforts. By prioritizing TB control and prevention, the Ministry continues to make significant strides in improving the health and well-being of the Ethiopian population.


The Ethiopian herald April 19/2024


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