TB fight not affected by cholera outbreak – NTLEP

National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program (NTLEP) said efforts in fighting against tuberculosis (TB) have not been affected by the cholera outbreak.

NTLEP program manager James Mpunga told Nthanda Times in an interview that there are the same health workers who carry the load of work in TB and other emergencies like cholera.

“There is a shift of health workers whenever there is a pandemic or an epidemic but this has not affected the TB fight in the country,” he said.

Mpunga said the program has not yet seen the negative impact as figures are still increasing interns of notifications and treatment outcomes are improving.

Mpunga, National TB and Leprosy Elimination Program Programs Manager

Blantyre District TB Officer Lameck Namuku Gama said, so far, the district case notification rate has not been affected by the cholera outbreak.

“But the team including focal persons were overwhelmed as they were also looking after cholera patients,” he said.

According to Gama there is a rise in TB cases in the district when comparing October to December 2021 to the same period October to December in 2022 from 87.2 percent to 99.6 percent.

Blantyre District TB Officer Lameck Namuku Gama

This has happened due to multiple interventions being done in the district to increase TB case finding such as use of fast promotors in seven high TB burden facilities and at the same time the use of hotspot volunteers in high volume TB locations and villages within the district, he said.

Gama further said the district has two mobile diagnostic unit vans with sophisticated diagnostic equipment such as the digital x-ray and gene expert machines.

Gama said: “The vans have helped in TB screening in the district both in the rural and urban areas. We have also 80 trained and active community sputum collection points with 10 volunteers in each committee who help in TB screening within the communities hence the increase in TB case findings in the district.”

Blantyre is one of the districts which has recorded high cases of cholera.

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