TB, Leprosy Fight Gains Momentum In Malawi
The battle against Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy in Malawi has gained substantial momentum, with a collaborative approach involving various stakeholders partnering with the Ministry of Health to combat these ailments in the country.
The Department of Mining, Malawi Prison Services, Ministry of Labour, Partners in Hope, Development from People to People (DAPP), and Faith groupings are all working hand in hand with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Elimination Program to implement diverse strategies aimed at eradicating these diseases by 2030.
In a 2-day bi-meeting from 20 to 21 December 2023 on TB and Leprosy held in Zomba, attended by these key stakeholders, Chimwemwe Shaba, spokesperson for Malawi Prison Services, acknowledged the heightened threat of TB spread within the country’s prisons due to congestion.
“Our nation’s prisons, designed for 8,000 inmates, now bear the burden of 16,010 individuals. This unsettling truth not only challenges the limits of our correctional facilities but also presents a looming menace to the surge in TB prevalence rates,” Shaba said.
Despite this challenge, Shaba outlined the efforts undertaken by the Prison Services department to address the diseases.
Measures include early diagnosis for prisoners and prompt medical treatment for those testing positive.
“Currently, 42 prisoners are undergoing TB treatment,” stated Shaba.
Sinya Mtawali, an official from the Ministry of Labour, highlighted their ground-level efforts to prioritize health safety measures in all workplaces.
Their goal is to create a conducive environment that protects people from various diseases, including TB.
National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program officials noted the promising developments in the fight against Tuberculosis in 2023.
“Financial challenges have posed limitations on some of our operations in connection with the fight against Tuberculosis. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge and express our gratitude to various stakeholders, with a special mention to the World Health Organization, for their unwavering support in overcoming these challenges and advancing our shared goal of eliminating TB,” he said.
Dr. Mpunga also noted a significant increase in people seeking early diagnosis for TB, especially when compared to the period of COVID-19 when access to healthcare services for TB was limited.
Expressing optimism, he affirmed the program’s commitment to achieving the 2030 target of eliminating TB in Malawi, with the support of the community and dedicated stakeholders.