The Government of Zimbabwe has applied for a financial grant amounting to approximately 110 million U.S. dollars, to develop a new drug for combating tuberculosis, said the Cabinet Minister.
The application has been forwarded to the Global Fund on AIDS, TB and Malaria, according to the Health and Child Welfare Minister. It is anticipated that approximately 15 and 30 million dollars would be approved for fighting against tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, malaria respectively.
The new drug combination called as Facility Design Criteria reduces the number of drugs taken by a tuberculosis patient per day. Currently, patients with tuberculosis are required to take a total of 14 tablets. This increased drug number however, results in a large number of patients discontinuing the therapy.
The new drug would not be a replacement for the currently existing treatment, called Direct Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS). However, both the modalities would be followed.
The new form of treatment has already been implemented in countries such as South Africa and Kenya. The risk of contracting tuberculosis (opportunistic infection) is considerably greater among individuals with AIDS/HIV, and is a major cause for mortality in Zimbabwe.
"As soon as we receive funding from the Global Fund, the new range of drug-fixed dose combination will be introduced," concluded the health minister.