The Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA)

“It’s important for recipients of care to have full control of their health. This can only be achieved
when communities are aware of the importance of preventing TB.”
Edna Tembo
The Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA), Malawi

Why is TB preventive therapy (TPT) important in your community?
TB preventive therapy is important in my community. It will reduce the number of people
who are at risk of developing TB disease. High-risk factors for developing TB include malnutrition and HIV infection. Fear from COVID has affected healthcare-seeking behaviour, and most people aren’t seeking care. If these risk groups (including PLHIV and children) are given TB Preventive therapy, there will be a high chance of prevention.

What gaps do you think are most important to address in the TPT progress of your country?

Right now, TPT funding isn’t adequate to reach out to the target groups. There’s a lack of awareness on the benefits of TPT, and a lack of monitoring of clients on TPT, especially when it comes to taking the drug at home. TPT is given in selected districts at the moment (5/28 districts). There is also a fear of interrupted treatment due to logistical problems in transportation and procurements and delivery.

What is your message for this World TB Day, 24 March 2021?
We must engage, support and involve community and private structures to enhance the fight for TB. Governments must allocate enough funds for TB prevention and treatment, and scale-up TPT (3HP) to all districts of Malawi for effective and efficient TB prevention.

What does it mean for you to be an IMPAACT4TB grantee?
It’s a great opportunity for us as an organization. We were exposed to various groups and meetings which built our capacity and understanding of better TB prevention, treatment care and support. A lot of information flow takes place for continual learning and updates.