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Malawi to engage traditional healers, pharmacies in detecting TB cases

Tuberculosis (TB), a potentially serious infectious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lungs.

Malawi would engage traditional healers, drug dispensaries and pharmacies to screen clients for signs of Tuberclosis (TB) and increase detection of the disease, health authorities disclosed on Saturday.

TB is an abbreviation of the word Tuberculosis and is how people often refer to the disease, it is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tuberculosis).

The project will be implemented by Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) Malawi in two of the country’s districts of Lilongwe and Mangochi with funds of up to 400,000 dollars.

CHAI project officer, Yuweni Chipatala, told newsmen when he briefed authorities in the lake shore district of Mangochi that the project would identify and engage up to 300 traditional healers, drug dispensaries and pharmacies in the targeted districts.

The identified structures would then be trained to improve TB screening and do referrals to recommended clinics for treatment.

“The two targeted districts contribute about 21 percent of the national population and they accounted for 28 per cent of TB notifications recorded in 2017,’’ Chipatala explained.

Report says TB remains a persistent challenge in Malawi, where less than 60 per cent of all new cases are identified and treated while deaths from the disease is estimated at 9,000 each year.

According to the CHAI project officer, in 2016, 29,000 new cases of TB were estimated but only 54 per cent of the cases were identified and linked to treatment. (Xinhua/NAN)

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