Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in Malawi. In 2013, 20,335 new and relapse cases and 1,400 deaths were reported in Malawi. The World Health Organization estimates that only 78% of TB cases are diagnosed in Malawi. Six in ten people with TB are also infected with HIV. The number of TB cases in Malawi increased steadily from 1995 until 2003, when it reached its peak (28,000 cases). Since 2003, there has been a downward trend to just over 20,000 cases recorded in 2013. This promising news is largely due to the efforts of the National TB Control Program (NTP) and its partners.
USAID shares the NTP vision of a tuberculosis-free Malawi and its activities work to reduce the morbidity, mortality, and transmission of tuberculosis until the disease is no longer a public health problem.
The USAID-funded TB CARE II project operates in twelve districts where the disease is most prevalent and there are the most severe gaps in TB and TB-HIV services. It delivers the Directly Observed Therapy Short-course (DOTS) Strategy, integrates TB/HIV services, manages multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and strengthens health systems for TB. The project also provides technical and financial support to NTP to help ensure that TB grants from the Global Fund are on track.
NTP is rolling out GeneXpert technology, a sophisticated DNA test that delivers results within two hours and identifies possible cases of drug-resistant TB. With USAID support, four machines have already been installed and seven more will be installed in 2014.
In 2010, USAID funded the first ever MDR-TB prevalence study in Malawi which found that MDR-TB is not as widespread as previously thought. USAID is currently providing technical support to the implementation of the National TB prevalence survey.
USAID and its partners increase the availability of TB services at health facilities. For example, in the central region where there is a high demand, USAID improves diagnosis and treatment of children with TB. In the southeast, USAID is integrating TB and HIV services. Throughout the country, USAID emphasizes community interventions, including establishment of community sputum collection points to improve identification of TB cases.
Prompt diagnosis and early initiation of standardized treatment is key to successful management of TB.
Funding (FY 2013)
- Government of Malawi
- University Research Company
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Partners in Hope
- Dignitas International
Last updated: September 12, 2014