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Mozambique struggles to curb TB

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  • Mozambique struggles to curb TB

    Mozambique struggles to curb TB, seeks U.N. help

    By Charles Mangwiro

    MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique plans to step up a campaign to fight a sharp rise in the lung disease tuberculosis, which has been overshadowed by HIV/AIDS, its health minister said on Saturday.

    Health Minister Ivo Paulo Garrido told Reuters almost half of Mozambique's 18 million people are infected with tuberculosis (TB) -- compounding the health crisis posed by HIV/AIDS.

    "It is extremely serious not only because of a very high prevalence of TB, but also because of the growing interaction between TB and HIV/AIDS, this is a matter of serious concern for the government," he said, adding his government would seek $22 million from the U.N.'s AIDS and TB agency for its campaign.

    "Despite commendable efforts by the government to control it, impact on incidence has not been significant and the epidemic has now reached a serious stage and, for the first time, we will need $22 million from the Global Fund to spend in three years," he said.

    The minister said the money would be used for treatment and identification of TB patients, since many Mozambicans who suffer from it live far from health centers or unaware of their TB status.

    Garrido said the HIV epidemic has fuelled the rise in TB incidence not only in Mozambique, but across Africa, so that the number of TB cases occurring each year has trebled since 1990.

    Garrido said the continent would require $2.9 billion in new funding during 2006/2007 and urged African countries to commit more human and financial resources to strengthen and harmonize anti-TB and HIV efforts.

    "Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~