— from the Executive Director

Facilitators  of Community  Transformation  (FACT) is  looking  forward  to  establish  well  implementation  models  for  the  workplan in  place  to  achieve  the  intended  goal  and  objectives  of  the  organization.  FACT  is  a  well-recognized,  women  led  non-Governmental organization  established  to  promote  sustainable  national  development  by  ensuring  that Marginalized populations (the elderly, Women, Girls, Children, Youths, Prisoners, refugees, people with disabilities, key populations, and people in displacements) are accorded their fundaments rights and equitable access to Health, Education, Agricultural and Public Development services. FACT therefore is looking forward to provide evidence through research, capacity building, social mobilization,  networking  and  advocacy  on  how  the  marginalized  populations  are  accorded to   their  fundaments  rights  and  equitable  access  to  Health,  Education,  Agricultural  and  Public Development  services  Currently  FACT  implements  its  projects  under  donor  support  and  in  six months  to  come  the  organization  envisions  to  widen  up  its  capacity  to  establish  a  self-reliant resource mobilization mechanisms to sustain its operations.

Currently  FACT  implements  projects  under  health  and  it  envisions  to  have  also  projects  under education,  agriculture  economics  and  development  in  the  next  six  months  period.  Most importantly, we want to see FACT growing in terms of staff, as we currently have 13 staff members and we still have some positions which are vacant. Currently FACT is in 13 districts implementing various projects. We also plan to scale up projects in other districts.

TB treatment and prevention is vital to achieve the targets

The  2018-2022  Global  TB  report  of  World  Health  Organization  sets  a  target  to  reach  90%  of people  in  need  of  TB  treatment  and  prevention.  By  improving  the  rates  at  which  people  are diagnosed  and  treated,  countries  can  reduce  the  spread  of  the  disease  and  drive  down incidence.  This  requires  early  detection  and  prompt  treatment  of  90%  of  people  with  T  (both DS-and DR-TB) and 90% of people who require preventive therapy. Proactively reaching out to people who are at risk of TB and providing systematic screening, diagnosis and appropriate care – an approach commonly known as active case finding – is essential to reaching the millions of people who go without access to TB services. While the best approaches to active case finding will  be  determined  by  local  contexts,  emerging  best  practices  include  supporting  community- based outreach efforts; strengthening health systems to be able to better provide TB services; integrating TB screening with other health interventions (e.g., HIV, diabetes, nutrition); optimizing the  use  of  existing  tools  and  resources;  scaling  up  successful  active  case  finding  pilots;  and ensuring government financing and support for active case finding

Some  of  the  key  recommendations  in  the  project  includes  on  the  need  for  District  TB  Officers and MANASO lead volunteers to regularly supervise follow-up of TB patients by volunteers and Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs). Additionally allocate enough fuel for follow ups and report collection from SCPs. Unfortunately, fuel allocation was not adequate sparked by skyrocketing fuel costs that have affected a lot of public health interventions across Malawi and this project is not an exception. There is also a need to introduce a star performance award for best performing groups or individuals so as to promote health competition and good performance among the groups in the TB responses.

As seen in the work by FACT, MANASO and other partners in the Global Fund TB work, adequate resourcing is vital alongside a stronger community health system backed with well-trained cadres of frontline health workers and community-based volunteers in building a stronger TB response.

Thokozile Phiri-Nkhoma

Executive Director