Health workers in Mzimba have hailed theatre for development (TfD) as an effective tool for rallying communities to go for screening.
Story Workshop Education Trust (Swet) is using participatory theatre to increase awareness and stimulate those with signs and symptoms of the bacterial disease to utilise TB and HIV services in their communities.
Mzimba health promotions officer Ellings Nyirenda described TfD activities as powerful outreach tools in combating TB in the communities.
“Many myths and misunderstandings are being ironed out through the drama clubs. Cases of stigma and discrimination in the communities against those are going down due to the sensitisation campaign,” he said.
According to Swet projects manager Ambele Gogwe, the trust has deployed 156 TB clubs nationwide—an average of five drama clubs in each district—to dial up TB messages.
In Nkhotakota, district TB officer Macdonald Ng’oma said the number of people voluntarily submitting sputum for TB screening is increasing die to the outreach.
“Their campaign, together with health surveillance assistants and sputum collecting volunteers, has helped the health centres to identify TB cases and provide necessary treatment to those infected. Nkhotakota District Hospital recorded over 800 presumptive cases from January to September. Previously, the figures were lower,” he said.
Swet is targeting 1.3 million people by December and it has since reached over 800 000, representing 63 percent.
Swet and Ministry of Health are running the initiative with funding from ActionAid. n