The report says the most obvious impact is a large global drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with TB from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.
However, Malawi has a different story as it has surpassed the 2020 End TB Strategy targets of reducing TB incidences and mortality.
The country and Mozambique are the two nations in the SADC Region where the World Bank funded Southern Africa TB and Health Systems Support Project is being implemented and have at least met the global milestones.
This was disclosed in Zanzibar, Tanzania at a Regional Advisory Committee meeting for the project implementation.
According to Dr James Mpunga, Programme Manager for National TB and Leprosy Elimination Programme, Malawi just like the rest of the world, its TB case finding was equally affected with a 12 percent decline in 2020. He however explained that the country managed to improve its TB case finding with 8 percent in 2021 and made considerable progress in TB diagnosis and treatment success rate which is at 90 percent, already reaching the historic 2022 tuberculosis (TB) targets committed by Heads of State and Government at the first United Nations high-level meeting on TB in 2018.
The Malawi Delegation in Tanzania
“The impact of COVID-19 on Malawi was on the side of TB notification and case finding where we registered a 12 percent decrease in 2020 but on the treatment outcome side, we have done well reaching a 90 percent treatment success rate amidst the pandemic,” said Mpunga.
Addressing the meeting in his capacity as incoming chair of the project’s advisory committee, Malawi Secretary for Health Dr Charles Mwansambo said it is pleasing to note that despite COVID-19 threat, Malawi has managed to sustain the positive trends registered in the past five years of the project implementation.
He said among others, Malawi has managed to surpass the 20% target for the reduction of TB incidence per 100,000 by 2020 as it registered a 28 % mark while on TB mortality rate, Malawi managed to reduce TB related deaths by 46% against the 35% target.
Malawi is implementing the Southern Africa TB and Health Systems Support Project pegged at approximately K36 billion through the Ministries of Health, Labour and Mining. The project was launched in 2016 and is expected to end in 2023.