In an effort to improve TB/HIV integration in the country, TB CARE II Malawi is collaborating with the Ministries of Health and Education to increase TB screening among HIV-positive school teachers and learners. Working under the motto, “Better Safe than Sorry”, the campaign is encouraging HIV positive individuals to be screened routinely for TB – in order to identify and treat the disease early, rather than risk waiting to develop advanced TB disease. TB CARE II held sensitization and awareness sessions in Balaka, Machinga, and Ntcheu districts earlier this year. Participants in these sessions have now been designated as ambassadors for TB/HIV integration in their communities and have committed to spread TB messages about the importance of TB testing. In September 2014, 231 HIV positive teachers and learners were screened for TB, of whom 62 were identified as TB suspects and had sputum samples collected for further testing.
Dr. Kuzani Mbendera (far left), a representative of the National TB Control Programme (NTP), delivered a motivational talk on TB TB/HIV, MDR TB, and the importance of TB testing. Following the talk, individual participants came forward for more information and to be screened for TB.