HomeNational NewsNationalNTLEP scale up efforts to fight TB, leprosy in hard-to-reach areas

NTLEP scale up efforts to fight TB, leprosy in hard-to-reach areas

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National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Elimination Programme (NTLEP) has scaled up efforts to fight Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy in hard-to-reach areas as one way of bringing the services close to the people. 

TB/HIV Programmes Officer for NTLEP, Henry Kanyerere announced this during an interview on Friday on the sidelines of a three-day media tour to appreciate efforts being undertaken to fight TB and Leprosy across the country.  

He said NTLEP has intensified efforts in TB fight in hard-to-reach communities by engaging volunteers into community sputum collection from their areas to their nearest health centres as one way of bringing services close to people.

“We have established community sputum collection points in hard-to-reach areas as well as introduction of mobile vans to intensify the TB fight in areas like Nsanje District, among other areas. 

“We have also come up with community diagnostic centres as well as treatment centres in most hard-to-reach areas to ensure that we bring TB and Leprosy services close to where people are,” said Kanyerere.

Senior Medical Officer responsible for TB at Rumphi District Hospital, Dr Alicy Khonje said TB fight is going on well and through initiatives such as community sputum collection points as well as screening they have managed to register 81 percent success rate.

“So far as of 2022 we registered about 78 patients and out of them we have a treatment success of 81 percent against the national figures of 90 percent. Therefore, looking at where we are coming from as a district, this is an achievement.

A TB patient receiving treatment right at home PIC Leonard Masauli MANA

“We have gene expert machine for screening TB which is small and takes time to produce results. We need at least a bigger machine to help us improve on case finding. We also need more treatment sites because we have only 12 which are not enough against a population of 450,000,” said Khonje.

District TB Officer for Karonga, Henry Nyirenda said the fight against TB in the district is on the right path and through various initiatives they have managed to reach 90 percent treatment success rate in 2022 which is far above the national target.

“In the first quarter of this year we have notified about 115 TB cases and we are so far around 87 percent success rate which also shows that by the end of the year we will also beat targets,” said Nyirenda.

Nyirenda hailed the coordination among various departments at the hospital as well as the support from NTLEP through a project called Southern Africa TB and Health System Support which he said is very instrumental behinds the TB fight in the district.

He said the project supports screening of TB in high-risk populations such as in mining, prisons and other high-density areas.

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