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Ministry of Health calls for collaborative efforts in fight against TB and Leprosy

Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi has called upon the general public to join hands in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy.

Daudi made the call on Friday as the country joined the world in commemorating World TB and Leprosy Day which falls on 24 March every year.

This year’s theme was “Yes! We Can End TB “and Act Now End Leprosy”, and the ceremony took place in Mchinji.

Speaking with reporters, Daudi said there is need to not only raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB but also step up efforts in the fight against reducing the incidence.

She added that through collaborative efforts with partners and stakeholders, the Ministry has registered significant success in the fight as in the past 6 years, the Treatment Success Rate (TSR) for all form of TB has increased from 82 percent in 2015 to 90 percent in 2021.

“The proportion of TB patients co-infected with HIV has reduced from 77 percent in 2003 to 48 percent in 2022. The treatment success rate for Drug-Resistant TB has increased from 55 percent in 2018 to 78 percent in 2020,” she said.

She, however, noted that in 2022, Malawi reported 612 leprosy cases (379 males and 233 females) with a prevalence rate of 0.3 percent. The incidence of leprosy has increased to 372 per 10000 populations by 2022 with grade 2 disability of 36 percent.

Daudi said the ministry has put place in measures to contain the up a surge in Leprosy cases.

Daudi went on to say that government has initiated several interventions to ensure that people access TB and Leprosy services in their communities such as house-to house TB screening, TB and leprosy contact tracing and mobile diagnostic units (mobile vans).

On his part, World Health Organization (WHO) National Professional Officer responsible for TB and HIV and AIDS Ishmael Nyasulu said that there is a need to allocate more funding to the program of TB and Leprosy.

This year’s ceremony started with a big walk.

Nsanje, Karonga and Mwanza hospitals as well as St Montfort Chikwawa, Blantyre Adventist Hospital were awarded for being the best in the fight against Tuberculosis and Leprosy.

Journalists from MIJ FM, Nkwaso Newspaper, Timveni and Mibawa Television also received awards as well as Community volunteers who were given bicycles and Laptop bags.

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