Lilongwe, Malawi – The National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) of Malawi has initiated implementation of the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) project with procurement of modern equipment and refurbishment of existing laboratories to improve detection and treatment of TB, conducting project awareness and sensitization campaigns and creating miners and ex-miners groups in the target communities to improve disease diagnosis and surveillance. The Malawi component of the project was declared effective by the World Bank (WB) on 01 December 2016.

The activities of the project are aimed at improving coverage and quality of TB and occupational lung disease services in 9 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Kasungu, Karonga, Lilongwe, Mzimba North, Mzimba South, Nsanje and Rumphi in an effort to fight the scourge of TB. This was disclosed during the joint country visit by NEPAD Agency and East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) from 05 – 06 April 2017 that was aimed at reviewing and identifying areas in the national work plan that require Technical Assistance (TA).

NTP Manager, Dr James Mpunga said that Malawi is satisfied with the coordination the project is receiving from NEPAD Agency and ECSA given the regional nature of the project and the experience and technical expertise the two organizations have in managing similar projects.

“The implementing countries have to move together in order to go further in the implementation of this project and consolidate the gains for shared success in fighting the scourge of TB”, said Dr Mpunga.

The project is funded by the World Bank (WB) with technical support from NEPAD Agency and ECSA-HC as coordinating partners at regional level. The joint country visit led to the alignment of the Malawi national work plan with the regional work plan and identified the kind of technical support required with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and timelines for successful implementation of the project. NEPAD Agency and ECSA also champion regional learning and innovation among the four participating countries: Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to improve regional capacity for effective management of TB across borders.

Malawi received USD 17 million out of the total USD 122 million dedicated to the SATBHSS project. The implementation of the project is coordinated by the Ministry of Health and has taken a multisectoral approach which includes the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining. All these stakeholders were consulted in the alignment of the Malawi national plan with regional work plans.

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