The Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, has asked the people to join the government and development stakeholders to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) and prevent new infections and deaths.

He made the call while speaking to hundreds of citizens and stakeholders who attended the World Tuberculosis Day celebrations held at Bariadi Town Council Grounds, in Simiyu region yesterday, in parallel with the launch of the Sectoral Joint Responsibility Strategy against Tuberculosis (MAF - TB).

"We need to unite and put together strategies to eradicate tuberculosis.

If each one of us fulfills our responsibility, in the fight against tuberculosis, we can cut the chain of new infections and prevent unnecessary deaths because this disease is treatable and fully recovered," he said.

Majaliwa added: "Each one of us has the responsibility to ensure that he takes all precautionary measures because one tuberculosis patient who has not been diagnosed and placed in the treatment system, has the ability to infect between 10 and 20 people a year.

"Let me give an opinion to every citizen to follow the instructions given by the Ministry of Health and our Local Government Authorities in protecting themselves against this disease."

He said the strategy launched yesterday is a global demand and has come at the right time when Tanzania, as a member of the United Nations, is implementing the Global Strategy to Eradicate Tuberculosis by 2030.

"This strategy is also going to strengthen sectoral cooperation that has been lacking for a long time due to the lack of a body or joint coordination... I direct all the ministries specified in this strategy to set strategic priorities to fight this disease in order to save the groups that are at risk of suffering from tuberculosis such as such as miners due to mining that does not take into account the correct ways to protect themselves from dust resulting from surgery, excavation or transportation of mineral soil," he said.

He mentioned another reason that contributes to the increase in tuberculosis infection is the lack of air in workplaces or the presence of slums and he instructed the councils to set aside open areas for citizens to rest and also build sports and entertainment grounds as a way to enable citizens to get fresh air .

He said that due to the measures taken by the government, Tanzania has made progress in eradicating tuberculosis in the country.

"World Health Organization figures show that by 2022, deaths caused by tuberculosis have decreased from 55,000 in 2015 to 25,800, equivalent to 55 percent.

"Similarly, we have reduced new tuberculosis infections from 306 patients in every 100,000 people to 208 patients in every 100,000 people, which is equivalent to a decrease of 32 percent," he said.

In another step, Majaliwa instructed the district heads to make sure that they closely supervise the funds for the purchase of drugs that are provided every month, which is an average of Sh17 billion, of which Sh462 billion have been spent in the past two years.

"Similarly, according to the instructions of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the government of the sixth phase has increased the types of important drugs that need to be tested to reach 290 types of important drugs from the previous 30.

"That action has increased the availability of essential medicines from an average of 58 percent in June, 2021 to 71 percent in January, 2023," he said.

Earlier inviting the Prime Minister to speak to the citizens and stakeholders who attended the celebration, the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu said statistics show that 71 patients lose their lives in this country every day due to the disease and urged the people to seek treatment because the disease is curable if someone ever goes to get it services.

Regarding the recovery of the treatment, Ummy said: "Currently, drugs are given for six months, unlike before when the whole treatment was for 18 months and now the patient does not have to be admitted to the hospital, but when he starts the treatment, he will agree on how to get the medicine his for the whole period of six months."

And the representative of the CDC Institute, Dr. George Ngomela said that those who are at high risk of infection are children under five years of age, miners and health workers.

He said that the biggest challenge in the treatment of the disease is the resistance of tuberculosis drugs and added that the resistance of tuberculosis drugs is a big problem for many countries in the world and therefore it is necessary to take urgent measures to control the resistance of these drugs.

And the Regional Commissioner of Simiyu, Dr. Yahaya Nawanda said that the region has received Sh17 billion to develop hospital buildings, health centers and dispensary buildings.

"We thank President Samia Suluhu Hassan for bringing us many medical devices in our region.

Right now we have a CT scan machine in the Regional Hospital, X-ray machines in all five districts of this region.

Therefore, the citizen no longer needs to go to Mwanza, KCMC Moshi or Muhimbili, but instead rides his bike and arrives at the hospital to receive care," he said.

Regarding Tuberculosis testing machines, Dr. Nawanda said they have received eight diagnostic machines that can give results within two hours since the tests were taken unlike in the past where it took three to seven days and added that thanks to these machines, they have been able to identify 3,689 patients among them , 90 percent have been treated and recovered.