Malawi stands to benefit among some Southern Africa Region countries from a newly launched Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project, courtesy of World Bank’s $122 million financial assistance to tackle the scourge of Tuberculosis (TB).
The project which was launched Wednesday in Maputo will primarily benefit TB-affected individuals and households in line with the World Bank Group’s goals to support the most vulnerable as part of its thrust to end extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the world.
According a Press Statement issued by the World Bank, the Bank accounts for a third of the world’s countries with highest TB burdens and Southern Africa is at the center of the dual epidemic of TB and HIV/AIDS.
“Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Zambia are no exception as they have high levels of TB/HIV co-infections and related mortality as well as increased risks of multidrug-resistant TB against a backdrop of large-scale and growing mining sectors which are a contributor to this health challenge,” reads the statement in part.
Speaking at the launch, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Mark Lundell, said the Bank recognizes that TB control is a major public health and represents an economic development issue in the sub-region, and therefore needs to be tackled forcefully.
“I’m pleased to note that Southern African leaders have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and leadership towards ending TB. I want to acknowledge the excellent cooperation across health, mining, labor and many other sectors represented here today,” he said.
The project has three mutually reinforcing components namely; innovative prevention, detection and treatment of TB; strengthening the region’s capacity for disease surveillance, diagnostics and management; and supporting regional learning and innovation and project management.
Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group added that the innovative approaches and cross country collaboration contained in the project will have important lessons for other regions tackling TB, and will provide a strong foundation to improve health and economic well-being in the region, especially among its most vulnerable citizens.
Additionally, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kalolo commended the Project Countries for their commitment to tackling TB and strengthening health systems, and the World Bank for this bold investment to address TB at its epicenter in Africa.
“We cannot end TB by 2030 if we do not step up our efforts where it matters most. We need to reach, test and treat all the vulnerable populations in areas where TB control is the weakest, including mining communities, areas with high HIV incidence, cross-border areas and transport corridors,” he said.
The Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project epitomize the strong commitment of the three countries in working across sectors and borders to address these health challenges.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) established in 1960 helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA