National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) has engaged traditional healers to help improve Tuberculosis (TB) detection and ensure that TB cases are tracked.
TB Public Private Mix National Technical Officer at NTP Lucius Donsa told Malawi24 that they have noted that stakeholders such as traditional healers see a lot of patients and a good number of TB cases are being missed.
“So, these stakeholders are able to bring forward patients who have got signs and symptoms of TB. For example, traditional healers have the capacity to admit a patient for a week or two so during that period there’s always delay for someone else to access TB treatment.
“So, we have trained these traditional healers to assess signs of TB and once they find out that a patient has signs and symptoms of TB, we have trained them to refer such patients immediately to a nearest public facility,” said Donsa.
Other stakeholders include private clinics, CHAM facilities, some corporate companies that have got clinics like Illovo, ESCOM, Traditional healers and herbalists, security agencies as well as NGOs.
“For private clinics what we have done is that, we have provided them with Microscopes. We would want to start doing TB microscope and its equally true for some of these CHAM facilities, we also managed to distribute a gin expert platform we are doing so to expand TB microscope services so as to increase proportion of TB case detection.
“So we will be scaling up with time where we would want to have more private clinics to start TB microscope and we have plans to make sure that with time they should be treatment registration signs where they should be able to notify TB cases, in essence that’s what we are doing as a program”, said Donsa.
Donsa hinted that this program will have a big impact in the fight of TB in Malawi as it will increase TB case detection percentage and that it will be easy for NTP to track down patients with TB at the same time giving them treatment.
“In 2017, in terms of TB case detection we used to be at 17 percent but this time around we are hovering to 24-26 percent. So it implies that, these stakeholders will be able to increase TB case detection in Malawi, so we are trying to leave no one behind we are trying as much as possible to reach to places where it is very difficult to reach, so that we leave no one behind and it is our hope that these stakeholders will increase TB detection in Malawi as you know TB is everywhere”, said Donsa.
According to NTP National Coordinator for Active Case Findings Madalitso M’manga, in the first quarter of 2021 NTP has managed to screen 50,000 people and they have recorded 382 cases of TB across the country.