Govt concerned with Misconceptions, Stigma on TB, Leprosy

By Lovemore Khomo

In an effort to end Tuberculosis–TB by 2030 and eliminate Leprosy, government has expressed concern over an increase on misconceptions and stigma against both TB and Leprosy patients in Malawi.

Secretary for Ministry of Health Dr. Samson Mndolo has raised the concern through a statement on preparedness of commemoration on World TB and Leprosy Day to be held at Khaya School ground in Mulanje on 24th March, 2024.

Dr. Mndolo shared some fears that misconceptions and stigma might derail the already built foundation on the fight against both TB and Leprosy in the country.

He elaborated that, “There are a lot of misconceptions and stigma associated with TB due to lack of awareness about TB and Leprosy which threatens to derail efforts to eradicate the menace.”

This year’s theme for the World TB Day commemoration is: “Yes We Can End TB! You can make history; End TB”. While for Leprosy this year’s theme is “Beat Leprosy”.

The Secretary for Health said this year’s theme on TB calls for everyone including political leaders, civil society, donors, researchers, TB communities, the private sector, and most importantly, every member of the society in order to take messages one step further.

“What each of us should do to help ‘End TB’ and challenge those in power to do the same. The leprosy theme encapsulates the dual objectives of eradicating stigma associated with leprosy and to promote the dignity of people affected by the scourge.” He said.

National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program – NTLEP data indicates that more men are infected than women and that the burden is higher in urban than in rural areas.

Currently, Malawi TB prevalence rate is at 132 per 100,000 people which has tremendously dropped since 2014 at 334 per 100,000 people, according to National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program – NTLEP data.

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