First Lady for early TB, leprosy treatment

First Lady for early TB, leprosy treatment

First Lady Monica Chakwera has appealed to Malawians to develop a habit of seeking early medical attention if the country is to effectively combat diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy.

Speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday at a luncheon she hosted at Kamuzu Palace for TB and leprosy survivors under the Paradiso TB Patients Trust, the First Lady stressed the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in overcoming such diseases in the country.

Kachingwe presents a gift to Chakwera

She said: “TB is a very dangerous disease, claiming many lives, but it is curable. Let’s work together to fight this disease by raising awareness about its symptoms and encouraging those who suspect they may have it to seek treatment promptly.”

Chakwera, who serves as a champion for TB and leprosy in Malawi, expressed concern over the resurgence of leprosy in some parts of the country, calling for urgent collaboration among stakeholders to combat it effectively.

National TB Control Programme manager James Mpunga highlighted the Ministry of Health’s efforts to decentralize TB services to rural facilities to improve accessibility.

He said: “With over 1 800 community sputum collection points nationwide, patients no longer need to travel long distances to submit samples.

“Additionally, there are 418 facilities capable of conducting microscopy and 514 TB registration facilities equipped to initiate treatment for patients.”

Under the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations aims to eradicate TB by 2030.

Mpunga noted that Malawi has made progress in reducing TB cases and death rates, with cases dropping from 197 per 100 000 in 2015 to 125 per 100 000 by 2022, and deaths decreasing from 68 per 100 000 to 27 per 100 000.

However, he lamented insufficient funding, stating that only about 45 percent of the required resources have been allocated.

Paradiso TB Patients Trust board chairperson Sitingawawo Kachingwe observed that survivor volunteers play a critical role in providing health education and counselling to new TB patients, noting that meeting with the First Lady was inspiring for them.

“These survivors are playing a critical role in supporting new patients. They need to be motivated and supported with necessary resources,” she said.

Additionally, the organisation has introduced physical exercise as part of the treatment regimen to prevent post-TB lung disease.

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The post First Lady for early TB, leprosy treatment appeared first on Nation Online.