Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, including Lesotho, are this year expected to start implementing a $122 million-World Bank regional project aimed at dealing with tuberculosis, which is deemed to have effects on health and economies of such nations.
The programme was launched in Maputo last month after World Bank Board in May this year approved such financial assistance to tackle the scourge in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
In an earlier statement, the Bank said such targeted countries have high levels of TB/HIV coinfections and related mortality and increased risks of multidrug-resistant TB against a backdrop of large-scale and growing mining sectors which are a contributor to this health challenge.
The Bank added that the project, under the name Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project targets mining communities, regions with high TB burdens or HIV and Aids, transport corridors, and cross-border areas of the four target countries.
“Its primary beneficiaries will be TB-affected individuals and households in line with the World Bank Group’s goals to support the most vulnerable as part of its thrust to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the world,” the Bank said.
According to the Bank, Malawi and such countries demonstrated leadership and interest in working together to explore innovative ways of confronting the TB challenge to offset its impact on production.
Speaking at the launch in last month, Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group noted that southern Africa is coming together to tackle tuberculosis, one of the greatest global infectious disease challenges.
He said that the innovative approaches and cross-country collaboration contained in the project will have important lessons for other regions tackling TB, and will provide a strong foundation to improve health and economic well-being in the region, especially among its most vulnerable citizens.
“Accounting for a third of the world’s countries with highest TB burdens, southern Africa is at the centre of the dual epidemic of TB and HIV and Aids. Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Zambia are no exception,” he said.
The project has three mutually reinforcing components: innovative prevention, detection and treatment of TB; strengthening the region’s capacity for disease surveillance, diagnostics and management; and supporting regional learning and innovation and project management.