KIGALI - Rwanda has recorded notable success in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) in Africa, says a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
The news on Rwanda’s TB control progress comes as the world celebrated World Tuberculosis Day on March 24. The national celebrations were held in Karongi District, Western Province.
Health Minister, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo confirmed the success on Monday, and attributed it to constant care provided to TB patients by the health counsellors.
“It is rational to be on top in the fight against TB, given that at least 80 percent of TB patients in Rwanda now access treatment in time” said the minister.
Ntawukuriryayo further explained that ant- communal measure against habit of sharing drinks using one bottle or straw has also helped to slowdown the TB spread.
The TB control report indicates that Rwanda, Kenya and Malawi are the foremost African countries scaling down the killer disease.
It lists Rwanda ahead with the highest record rate of 76 per cent, Malawi 64 per cent while Kenya had 60 per cent to show for domestic strides in the fight against TB.
The three countries are said to have the positive examples from the continent cited in the Global Tuberculosis Control report for 2008 released by the WHO on Monday last week.
However WHO warned in the report that there is a general slow down in the TB control efforts in several countries, and that if not checked, the trend would even fall further.
It gave the reason for the slowdown as national programmes that had made impact in the last five years.
However they had been unable to continue at the same pace in 2006, because the response to the increasing rate of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) had been inadequate.
As a result it has thrown further doubts on reversing the progress on TB cases especially in Africa, because of the limited laboratory and treatment capacity of most countries.
This is the 12th annual WHO report on global TB control, which is based on data gathered by its health experts from 202 countries worldwide.
The experts reviewed data of 2001 to 2005 when TB cases were being detected at an average rate of six per cent, and 2005 to 2006 when the rate fell by half to three per cent.
The new report comes barely a month after the country was listed by the WHO as being the top among the African countries that have shown reduced malaria death in the past two years.
The WHO report on malaria fight said that in 2007, the number of hospitalised cases of malaria in children under five years of age was 64 percent lower compared to 2005 and the deaths were 66 percent lower.
Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia trail Rwanda in the anti-malaria fight and have also registered laudable success, according to the WHO report.
The report shows that Ethiopia has had hospitalised malaria cases in young children reduced by 60 percent since 2005 and the deaths have fallen by 51 percent.
The WHO said in the two reports that for progress to be made in health sector, public programmes must be strengthened. The aim is to tap the potential of other service providers like private care providers, non-governmental, faith-based and community organizations.