Arusha. At least 3,180 new tuberculosis (TB) patients were detected in Arusha Region between January and March this year suggesting the infectious bacterial disease is still a leading health problem.
Arusha Regional medical officer Timothy Wonanji said the number of people suffering from the disease had increased significantly, especially in rural areas.
He revealed this here early this week during the launch of a capacity building programme on TB involving experts from five eastern African countries.
The three year project is coordinated by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) with the support of the European Union (EU) under the latter’s European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) programme.
Dr Wonanji said the resurgence of TB was a matter of grave concern for the children because detection was difficult compared with the adults.
The acting health research coordinator with NIMR, Dr Paulo Kazyoba, said the project was aimed at improving detection of people suffering from TB in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.
For his part, a senior research scientist with NIMR Muhimbili Station, Prof Sayoki Mfinanga, said TB was still a great health menace in the society and concerted efforts are needed to end it. The disease is not only a menace in Arusha but also in the neighbouring Manyara Region where it has affected a significant number of gemstone miners at Mererani mines in Simanjiro District.
Recent data indicate that close to 60 per cent of the tanzanite mines’ diggers had contracted the disease mainly due to the poor working conditions underground where they were exposed to dust.
In Kiteto District, TB is reported to be the leading infectious disease responsible for rise of HIV/Aids in the area.