National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Elimination Program (NTLEP) has disclosed that Malawi so far is doing well in the fight against TB.
This was disclosed in Blantyre by NTLEP Director of Programs Dr. James Mpunga.
Mpunga noted that as recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) that countries should have a treatment rate of all TB cases not less than 90%, Malawi has just achieved that over the past five years and has been moving from 85 % to 86 % and is now at almost 90 %.
“The fight against TB is moving well in as far as management of TB is concerned, the country has moved from just sitting within the facilities to wait for the patients to come and we are now going out there to actually look for the cases.
“In this area we have made tremendous efforts and gains in making sure that the mobile diagnostic unit are giving opportunities for Malawians to be screened closer to their doorstep.
“We have also managed to reduce the incidents of Tuberculosis, these are new cases that we notify every year, from 191 in 2015 to 133 by 2020, so I can say the fight against TB is on right track,” explained Mpunga.
He, however, noted that there are some challenges they are facing like Covid-19 which has pulled them back probably two to 3 years in as far as impact for TB that have been made is concerned.
“We have seen some decline in terms of cases being notified by NTP, a reduction of almost 12 % if we compare to the previous years. We have also seen some challenges in terms of drug resistant TB as I have mentioned is a big challenge in the region but what we are trying to do is to make sure that all patients diagnosed with TB are also being screened and tested for drug resistant strain by doing so we are making sure that we don’t have other strain which is drug resistant TB,” said Mpunga.
In his remarks, Dr. Marriott Nliwisa from Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES) said research is very crucial in as far as fighting Tuberculosis is concerned.
“We find newer ways of dealing problems that we have at hand. To give an example, a Doctor at the hospital may have problems communicating with patients about long term treatment. For example, TB can take up to 6 months so bringing a new innovation like a mobile app can bring the two into communication so that’s a good demonstration how research can result in taking good care of patients,” said Nliwisa.
The two-day symposium which took place in Blantyre was reviewing the role of research in the fight against Tuberculosis.
The event was organised by the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Elimination Program (NTLEP) with research group from Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES).