Tuberculosis (TB)

From the high of 28,000 cases in 2003 there has been a downward trend to about 23,000 cases notified in 2010. Malawi implements the Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) strategy. There has been a steady increase in the proportion of patients successfully treated reaching 88% by 2010. The TB/HIV Co-infection rate consistently remains above 60%. The risk factors include: lack of access to diagnosis and treatment; poor health status (HIV, malnutrition, mental illness); environmental conditions (poor housing and overcrowding in prisons); lifestyle (alcohol and drugs abuse) and poor hygiene. The programme has embarked on the Universal Access to TB diagnosis and care and treatment.

Current health promotion emphasis/messaging:

  • TB screening, prevention and adherence to treatment through sputum test for coughs of more than two weeks
  • Patients to take all the drugs for the duration of treatment
  • TB is curable even when co-infected with HIV
  • Patients to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing
  • Sleep in a well ventilated room
  • Good nutrition by eating food from all the six food groups