By Mphatso Nkuonera:
Journalists have been challenged to report more on Tuberculosis (TB) to benefit citizens through equipping them with knowledge and correct information in return jointly fighting against the disease which remains a health problem.
Deputy Director responsible for Press and Publications in the Ministry of Information, Edson Mwamvani made the challenge on Thursday, at Green Hill Lodge in Mchinji, during a TB Media workshop.
“Let us not restrict ourselves on TB reporting, you should relate TB to Covid 19 pandemic, Gender Based Violence (GBV) in our society among many key areas that matter.
“Journalists must unearth much on how TB is impacting on the socio-economic development of the country. There are plenty of myths and superstitions surrounding TB which need to be thoroughly reported so that citizens understand how to address them, he said.
Mwamvani added that citizens suffer a lot when they are end users of misinformation on several health challenges when the media is silent on reporting health issues like TB.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson Adrian Mchikumbe appealed to journalists to report on TB in relation to how medical personnel struggle to serve mentally challenged patients who are on TB treatment.
“There is much to report on how TB has affected us as a country, and how as a country can join hands to fight TB so that in turn we live a health life whose people will be able to contribute to the development of the country,” he pointed out.
One of the journalists attending the workshop, Samson Phiri from MBC said trainings have been impactful because reporters have learnt various terminologies used in reporting issues on TB.
“We are now able to raise awareness on TB issues because we feel duty bound due to the ownership that National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTCP) injected in us.
“We feel that journalist are contributing a lot in containing TB in line with the agenda to eradicate TB by 2030, through different articles that we publish in our various media platforms,””he said.
TB treatment is directly connected to the improvement in treating HIV and AIDS and malaria.
According to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reports TB remains a major public health in the country, with an estimation of 27, 000 TB cases in 2019, where 16, 902 were reported to NTCP and were under treatment, representing 63 per cent of treatment.
The report indicates that drug resistant TB (DR-TB) has an estimated 750 incident cases and multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) however, only 104 DR-TB cases were reported.
According to NTCP, Mulanje and Machinga districts have reported high TB related death rates, while Mangochi indicates a hot spot area, while Mwanza is leading on the fight against TB in the country.