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Training Health Workers and Better Drug Access Vital to Combat TB in Mozambique

Mozambique needs to invest in training increased numbers of health workers, promote research and widen access to drugs to combat the spread of tuberculosis// in the country, Jorge Sampaio, U.N. special envoy said in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

Sampaio, who is touring southern Africa, called for urgent and broad action to create the capacity to implement Mozambique's TB control strategies. He also said the national health system needs to screen people for TB.

In addition, HIV/AIDS complicates the fight against TB, Sampaio said, adding that many HIV-positive people die of TB because the bacterial disease is not detected in time.

Sampaio urged collaboration between HIV/AIDS and TB programs, adding that there is a need to focus on people living in unsanitary and poorly ventilated conditions, who are more vulnerable to TB.

Sampaio also highlighted the need to prevent the development of multi-drug resistant strains of the disease, including extensively drug-resistant TB, which is resistant to the two most potent first-line treatments and some of the available second-line drugs. He expressed hope that Mozambique can successfully combat TB.

Mozambique in 2006 reported 91,000 TB cases and in 2004 reported a TB incidence of 460 cases per 100,000 people, AIM/ reports. The country has a treatment success rate of more than 50%, Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido said. Low TB detection in the country is attributed to the fact that many people live far from health units, according to the Angola Press.

Sampaio, who during his tour also visited Malawi and South Africa, said he is seeking proposals to be submitted to international donors in an effort to generate funding to combat TB.

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation/B

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