In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the government of Zimbabwe has put in place a new drug dispensing protocol for tuberculosis (TB) patients, a move meant to ensure the continued treatment of the disease during the lockdown. In a statement, Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe Chairperson, Ronald Rungoyi said they are thankful of government move that ensures access and supply of drugs within the lockdown.
“We are thankful to the Ministry of Health and Child Care for developing new drug dispensing protocol for TB medicines to ensure TB patients are given 1-2 months supply for intensive and continuation phase respectively.
“This move will help reduce the frequency of patients visiting health facilities,” he wrote.
Findings from the National TB Reference Laboratories show that TB treatment is effective but problems arise when patients skip or drop medicine.
“We therefore advise all people on TB treatment including those taking TB Preventive Therapy to visit their nearest health facilities to collect their medicines,” Rungoyi further said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has, since the outbreak of Covid-19, encouraged TB patients to take extra caution and follow the prevention guidelines to the pandemic which include good personal hygiene, frequent washing of hands with soap, avoid touching nose, eyes and mouth, cough into elbow and social distancing.
People with Covid-19 and TB also show similar symptoms such as cough, fever and difficulty in breathing while both diseases attack primarily the lungs.
Applauding government’s move to lockdown, Stop TB Partnership thereby advised that people who test negative for Coid-19, but with symptoms to further go for TB testing.
“We welcome the national lockdown called for by government…we also hereby express the importance of ensuring all people presenting symptoms but who test negative for Covid-19 to be further investigated for TB,” Rungoyi further wrote.