Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has disclosed that Malawi is making strides in ending Tuberculosis (TB) as there has been a significant decline in the number of cases over the past years.
The Minister said this on Thursday 24 March, 2022 in Lilongwe during the Commemoration of World TB day. The World TB day was commemorated under the theme “Invest to End TB. Save lives”.
Chiponda said Malawi continues to register reduction in the number of people suffering from TB.
“For example, the incidence of TB for Malawi has declined from 338/100,000 in 2010 to 141/100,000 in 2020. This represents a 58% reduction over a 10-year period. If we maintain this trajectory in the next 10 years Malawi should be very close to attaining the End TB target on reducing incidence”.
“Through collaborative efforts with all partners and stakeholders, the Ministry has registered significant success in the fight against TB. For the past 5 years, the Treatment Success Rate (TSR) for all forms of TB has increased from 82% in 2015 to 90% in 2020. The proportion of TB patients infected with HIV has reduced from 77% in 2003 to 44% in 2020. The treatment success rate for Drug Resistant TB has increased from 55% in 2018 to 73% in 2020.
“I should also mention that Malawi does not have any patient suffering from Extensively Drug Resistant TB which is a type of TB with poor treatment outcomes,” said Chiponda.
Chiponda also noted that as a Ministry they have initiated several interventions to ensure that people access TB services in their communities such as house-to-house TB screening, mobile diagnostic units (mobile vans) as well as community sputum collection points.
“My Ministry is also working strongly with the media fraternity to ensure that TB messages are provided to our people through any appropriate and effective avenue. Through the “Public Private Mix” approach, my Ministry is also strengthening our working relationship with private health sector providers to ensure that TB services are available for all,” said Chiponda.
She the urged all people to take up the opportunity to get tested for TB using modern technologies and services that Ministry of Health have invested in.
According to Chiponda, Malawi has made significant investments in Mobile Diagnostic Vans (Zipatala Zoyendayenda) across the country for active case finding, Digital health to ensure more efficient recording and reporting.
There is also infrastructure and equipment including procurement of GeneXpert machines, X-Ray machines and ongoing capacity building for health care workers in diagnosis and treatment of TB.
Malawi also has laboratory infrastructure including culture and DST facilities and equipment as well as Scientific and operational research in TB for evidence-based practice, better tools and better service delivery.
World Health Organisation (WHO) acting country representative Dr. Janet Kayita said Increased funding from domestic sources and international donors is urgently needed in the fight against TB and she called on Government of Malawi to consider increasing investment in TB fight.
“Countries need to achieve at least 10% decline in TB annual incidence until 2025, and the average 17% annually in the following decade. With 36 % of all TB deaths occurring in Africa, failure to invest in the TB response is set to take a formidable toll on African countries. Increased investment can be a game-changer and alleviate the preventable suffering and death of millions of our people,” said Kayita.