Cylone Freddy affects TB fight in Nsanje district


Cyclone Freddy which hit Malawi in March this year had an impact on the fight against Tuberculosis especially in Nsanje district where it affected community interventions as community volunteers could not manage to do their usual work in terms of community screening and patient follow ups.

Speaking to Malawi24, Fred Minyeliwa District Environmental Health Officer under Nsanje district council said following the effects of Cylone Freddy, four health facilities were submerged in flooding water and all services were suspended.

According to Minyeliwa, right now two health facilities have been restored (Mbenje Health Centre and Mlolo Health Post) while the other two health facilities are still closed (Makhanga Health Centre and Mchacha Health Post). 

“Access to TB treatment and diagnostic services was disrupted due to the closure of some health facilities and community sputum collection points. The situation was worsened by the displacement of TB patients from their communities,” said Minyaliwa.

On his part, Chiwosa Yunus District TB coordinator for Nsanje district, said that in all the camps they had in the district about 20 cases were on treatment and all displaced TB patients were traced during the response to the Cylone Freddy.

“What we did was to use mobile diagnostic team to conduct TB screening in the camps where we managed to track TB patients and bring them back to care. During the screening process we also managed to detect new cases who were initiated on treatment.

“The response to Cyclone Freddy helped the district because we did not lose any patient because of lost to follow- up and also we managed to bring the patients back to care and they are still taking medication,” explained Yunus.

According to Yunus, the service delivery or provision of care was also affected because some of the health facilities were affected by Cyclone Freddy to the extent that that facilities were closed.

Yunus added that the sputum collection points which are managed by volunteers and community leaders were also affected. He further said that some of the TB clients lost their medication and identification like health profile.

“So all in all Cylone Freddy affected TB fight in Nsanje district in several aspects in terms of TB case detection and response. However, going by pillars of case detection case management, patients follow ups and tracing the district is not doing bad,” said Yunus.