Zimbabwe on Thursday marked World Tuberculosis Day to raise public awareness that tuberculosis remains an epidemic, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, in developing countries, mostly in southern Africa.
Tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death in Zimbabwe with the fight against the disease complicated by the high TB-HIV co-infection rate. Approximately 80 percent of TB patients are co-infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
The World Health Organization estimates an incident rate of 782 new TB cases per 100,000 people in Zimbabwe per year.
National TB coordinator, Dr. Charles Sandy, attended celebrations in Masvingo on Thursday to mark World TB Day.
Dr. Sandy said the day was a success with the health ministry disseminating important information in the province to help fight the disease.
The health ministry used arts and culture to raise awareness about a disease that is decimating the population on a daily basis.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries in southern Africa badly affected by the epidemic. Health Minister Dr. Henry Madzorera was the guest of honour at Mucheke Stadium where thousands gathered to mark the day.
For perspective on the day and what Zimbabwe is doing to eradicate TB, we turned to Dr. Madzorera and Dr. Elliot Chikati, a senior consultant with the Harare Hospital.
Madzorera said TB remains a major problem in the country.