Namibia has one of the highest TB incidence rates in the world, reporting nearly 10 000 cases in 2015, with a multi-drug resistant TB prevalence of between 3.9 percent for new cases and 8.7 percent for previously treated cases.
TB significantly affects the country’s economically productive population aged from 25 to 44, and threatens socio-economic development.
“Global efforts to control the TB contagion are hampered by an inadequate understanding of the disease’s epidemiology and a lack of effective interventions to prevent the transmission of both drug susceptible and drug resistant TB. As we now know, the TB HIV/AIDS link, nexus or combination causes certain morbidity and mortality worldwide,” remarked the NUST Founding Vice-Chancellor, Dr Tjama Tjivikua.
Furthermore, Tjivikua said: “By aligning our energies and using innovative technologies, in addition to establishing a research culture, Namibia can become a trailblazer on the African continent in terms of TB management and research.”
One of the nine strategic objectives of the Ministry is to establish a TB Research Network by 2019. Not only does this align with the National Development Plan goals, to increase Namibia’s human resources capital, it also promotes multi-sectoral engagement at various levels.
“Our planning needs to be informed by evidence-based research. The aim is to contribute to the global body of knowledge and hopefully this can lead to the production of new drugs that will permanently eradicate TB,” said Ben Nangombe, Executive Director, MoHSS.
By means of this MoU, the parties will share research data, and staff and students will undergo TB-focussed training. NUST, through the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, is the founding member and driver of the Consortium.