Like its neighbours, Zambia was devastated by the dual epidemic of TB and HIV that swept through sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the country has succeeded in bringing down deaths from TB by almost half since the 1990s, during a period of political stability and economic growth.
But tuberculosis remains a deadly killer disease and HIV transmission is still high. Each day, nearly 200 people fall ill with TB — many of them HIV positive — and 47 people die from it.
TB-HIV inside and out
Throughout the world, rates of TB are much higher among the prison population than the general population. Zambian prisons have been neglected in efforts to address both TB and HIV, and prisoners have less protection against infectious illnesses than communities outside prison. Prisoners that contract TB or HIV, whilst serving their sentences, risk infecting the wider community upon release. So TB Alert partner Chichetekelo’s prison programme, work to raise awareness of TB and TB-HIV in the Mpima and Mukobeko prisons of Kabwe has an impact that goes beyond the prison walls.
Community TB-HIV Advocacy
Because TB-HIV co-infection is such a huge problem in Zambia, it makes sense to tackle these conditions together. TB Alert’s Community TB-HIV Advocacy in Zambia (COTHAZ) project involved seven local NGOs working across six areas of the country, to raise awareness of TB-HIV.
The COTHAZ project works at three levels:
- community TB awareness-raising
- local advocacy for better TB services
- national government engagement to secure funding and support for improved TB services.