Stop TB Partnership

Zimbabwe National TB Prevalence Survey

20 February 2015 - Zimbabwe - The Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with Biomedical Research and Training Institute conducted the National TB Prevalence Survey in all the 10 administrative provinces in Zimbabwe from December 2013 to December 2014. The objectives of the survey were:

  • To establish the prevalence of bacteriologically-confirmed pulmonary TB in the target population
  • To determine the prevalence of smear positive, culture positive TB
  • To determine the prevalence of symptoms suggestive of TB and to determine the prevalence of radiological abnormalities (chest X-ray) suggestive of TB.

Tuberculosis prevalence is one of the indicators of Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) to the Global Stop TB Plan. Thus, there is need for high TB burdened countries to have precise estimates of TB prevalence in order to monitor their progress towards the MDGs. The TB prevalence survey conducted will serve as a baseline for future surveys and will assist the programme in planning interventions.

The 10 Provinces were sub-divided into 76 clusters for the implementation of the survey and 33 000 participants were recruited, which translates to 73% participation rate. Participation rate was relatively higher in rural settings (78%) whereas in urban settings it was76%. The survey was conducted on a population aged = 15 years that met the eligibility criteria. All study participants were screened for TB suggestive symptoms by individual interviews and chest X-ray (CXR). Individuals who would have undergone the initial screening and were found to have symptoms suggestive of TB and/or had an abnormal CXR were asked to submit two sputum samples. All sputum samples were sent to the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) and examined with both microscopy and culture for acid fast bacilli. Field work for the National TB Prevalence Survey was completed in December 2014 and currently data cleaning, verification and validation are in progress in preparation for data analysis. Preliminary results should be expected early May 2015.

Zimbabwe DR Survey to kick start soon

The ministry of Health and Child Care is set to conduct a National DR-TB Survey this year. Ground work preparations are underway for the pilot DR-TB Survey to commence, hence setting the tone for the National DR-TB Survey.

Zimbabwe expands GeneXpert coverage

Every year Zimbabwe contributes to the 3 million cases that are not diagnosed, not treated or diagnosed late and late diagnosis can be attributed to inefficient and poor diagnostic tests as well as overwhelmed health staff. This has been a major stumbling block in achieving our ultimate goal to virtually eliminate TB as a public health problem. In our endeavor to curb TB, The Ministry of health and Child Care has adopted the WHO recommendation to provide state of art diagnostic equipment (GeneXpert machine). The GeneXpert machine has been approved as the primary diagnostic tool for Drug sensitive TB and DR-TB in both children and adult population in high burden HIV settings and among populations with risk factors for DR-TB. The Ministry in collaboration with partners has procured 76 Gene Xpert machines to date and the installation of the last batch of 14 is still underway. To date all provincial and some district hospitals have a GeneXpert machine running. This is expected to achieve:

  • an increase in the number of all notification rates (specially in children)
  • quick turnaround time for results
  • increased access to TB diagnostic services,
  • Early case detection for Drug sensitive and drug resistant TB.