TB patients to start benefiting from Social Cash transfer

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HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo says Government plans to identify tuberculosis (TB) patients who could benefit from social cash transfer.

This collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services aims to address the financial challenges faced by TB patients.

Masebo revealed this yesterday while officiating at the World TB day Commemoration at Makululu grounds in Kabwe District, Central Province.

World TB day is commemorated annually on March 24, and this year’s theme was, “Yes! We can end Tuberculosis.”

Therefore in order to lessen the burden faced by TB patients who mostly face high treatment costs, The Ministry of Health intends to work with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services in identifying TB patients who could benefit from social cash transfer.

During the event, the minister noted that although the country is making progress with the TB response, there are still some areas where both society and government are lacking behind.

Masebo highlighted the need to raise awareness about TB and combat stigma associated with the disease. A TB survivor, Simon Simuyemba, shared his story to encourage others to seek medical attention promptly.

She said society beliefs such as myths and discrimination make those who fall prey to the disease to delay seeking care, which leads to avoidable deaths, especially that TB diagnosis and treatment is being accessible in all health facilities.

“Let us join hands to raise TB awareness and say no to stigma and discrimination,” said Masebo.

She added that the landmark study from the ministry’s out-of-pocket expenditure revealed that 58% of TB patients and their households face catastrophic costs when attending TB services.

“My ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services to identify TB patients who could benefit from social cash transfer,” Masebo disclosed..

The health minister said the actual burden of TB in Zambia is not precisely known therefore Government will be conducting a second national TB prevalence survey since the first one which was conducted 10 years ago.

She further urged all health partners to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to help conduct the second National TB Prevalence Survey and determine the burden of TB in Zambia.

Meanwhile, a TB survivor Simon Simuyemba, a manual worker in the mines gave a story on how he survived the illness.

He encouraged his fellow men not to hide from the society following myths that expect a man to be strong, but instead rush to the hospital when their health calls for medical attention.

“I never knew I would get sick, I only found myself sweating while in my sleep. My bed would get wet. I went and bought some medicine from a shop but nothing would change until I was advised by my wife to go to the clinic, I refused until she forced me.”

“And when I went there, I was tested positive for TB and I was given six months of medication. I took it for three weeks, and I felt better I was weighing 56kg and even my weight improved to 61kg. Am grateful to the health workers for saving my life and my advice to my fellow men is that whenever you feel sick, don’t stay home just because you are a man. Seek medical attention as soon as possible because as much as TB is deadly, it is also curable,” said Simuyemba.

By Buumba Mwitumwa

Kalemba March 26, 2024

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