Sue Ryder Foundation in Malawi has vowed to intensify screening of antenatal mothers and under-five children in Balaka to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) deaths.
The organisation has embarked on a project, which is being piloted at Balaka District Hospital. It is also expected to be extended to other healthy facilities.
Project coordinator Marlene Kaliko said this at Sosola Primary School where the organisation in conjucntion with Balaka District Council commemorated the World TB Day under the theme ‘Stop TB in my Life Time’.
“We raise awareness about signs and symptoms and where people can get the diagnostic services and treatment. We also screen antenatal mothers and children. We are encouraging pregnant mothers and under-five children to get diagnosed,” said Kaliko.
She asked people to undergo testing for TB when they cough for more than two weeks.
“Although the country has registered a decline in TB death rates from 20 percent in 2003 to seven percent in 2011, the disease is still a public health problem as it affects the highly productive age group in the country,” she said.
According to statistics, 64 percent of TB patients are also HIV positive since tuberculosis and HIV and Aids constitute a deadly combination that speeds the progression of illness and death.
The Ministry of Health with support from all its partners, has set itself an ambitious target of creating a TB-free Malawi by 2016.