Involvement of volunteers in fight against TB bears fruits


Involvement of volunteers in hard to reach areas has been pointed out as one of the factors that have contributed to Malawi’s success in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB).

Deputy Program Manager for National TB Control and Leprosy Elimination Program Isaiah Dambe told Malawi24 on Friday during a journalists’ and editors bi-annual meeting in Salima that community volunteers have been assisting in the fight against the disease considering that they reach a lot of people more especially those who live in hard to reach areas.


Dambe also commended the media for communicating to the general public at large which he said has enabled the program’s work to be easier regarding that when health workers are assigned to some of the areas they found that community members already had knowledge about the disease.

“In the past, we were saying TB Control Program but due to the decrease – from registering 30,000 TB cases  between  2010 and 2018 to now registering 14,000 cases –  we have moved from control to elimination. We will therefore continue to involve different stakeholders who are media, community volunteers, Health Surveillance among others to ensure that no one is left behind.

“Our goal is to make sure that by 2030 Malawi becomes TB free. Let me therefore take this opportunity to ask those who are ignorant about the disease to join hands with by doing what is being communicated,” he said.

On his part, National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program’s TB and HIV Program Officer Henry Kanyerere said despite the fact that there are positive outcomes from the initiative, there are also challenges one of which is lack of diagnosis skills among health workers.

“For children in 2021, our target was 2432. We did not reach that target. We only managed to reach 1351 children which is about 55 percent of our target. The target we had set we did not manage to reach because of two challenges. First it is because of the TB diagnostic tools we are currently using and skills of the health care providers to predict TB cases among children. Most of our health workers do not have that skill in terms of diagnosis TB among children,” he said.

Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium. The disease was isolated in the country in 1882. It is found primary in humans and cattle as well as Mammals. It is transmitted from one person to another through air. If person is TB positive can infect from 10 to 15 people for year due to exposure.

Tuberculosis develops when the immune system cannot keep the tubercle bacillli under control and the bacillli begin to multiply rapidly.