Early TB detection saves Dowa communities

Action Aid’s Kondwani Mshali

By Muloyi Magenge 

Early detection of Tuberculosis (TB) in communities of Dowa District through trained local peer educators who aren’t putting levels of the killer disease in check hence saving the lives of many people. 

This is a three-year initiative being implemented by Action Aid Malawi, Dowa District Health Office and several other organisations with funding US$30 million from Global Fund.

About 290 peer educators across Dowa have been trained in TB detection through community sputum collection points established in the district’s 22 health centers.

According to Environmental Health Officer for Dowa District, Mavuto Thomas, out of over 600 sputum positive cases in 2017, 33 came from community sputum collection points.

Martin Samson reaches out to 135 people

Out of 82 confirmed cases from July to September this year, eight came from the sputum collection points.

Thomas said these volunteers also ensure that the sick consistently take drugs and monitor the side effects of those drugs. 

He was speaking Thursday at Nkhamanga in Dowa when his office and Action Aid visited some of the peer educators.

“They assist us a lot because we would not be able to know the 41 cases without them,” commended Thomas.  

Chairperson for the peer educators at Nkhamanga, Martin Samson, disclosed that they have reached out to 135 people (73 females and 57 males) in the area.

He said out of those, three males and two females have TB.

Samson bemoaned mobility challenges they face which is the major setback to their work.

Action Aid Malawi technical and advocacy coordinator Kondwani Mshali expressed satisfaction with the work, saying Global Funds are being put to good use.