Ministry of Health has started engaging traditional healers in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) to ensure that more lives are saved and that the disease is eliminated.
Speaking during a review meeting for TB activities and training for
journalists in Salima at the weekend, National TB Control Programme
(NTP) monitoring and evaluation officer (TB and HIV and Aids) Henry Kanyerere defended the involvement of traditional healers.
He said NTP is now training traditional healers on signs of TB to enable them refer such people to hospitals. He said the herbalists are being discouraged from treating people suspected to have TB.
He said: “We want them to refer people to hospital and not waste time giving them herbs. They have to value lives and by doing so people will also have trust in them.”
NTP community mobilisation and engagement officer Beatrice Nindi said NTP is targeting to reach about 500 herbalists who will also be entrusted with spreading messages to others.
Traditional Healers Association of Malawi director of research Laurence Mandaaliza said so far no herbalist can claim to have cure for TB just like HIV and Aids.
He said: “We do not have capacity to detect TB or cure it. I urge all
traditional healers to refer cases to hospital. In that way we will help save lives.”
Ending TB by 2030 is among the health targets of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs). Global efforts to combat TB have saved about 54 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42 percent.
Malawi has reduced cases from 28 000 in 2008 to current 16 000 but to end it will need efforts of several stakeholders.