It is 6:30 am in summer and Makhuwira Health Centre’s Outpatient Department (OPD) is already full of people waiting to be attended to.
The majority are women accompanying their under-five children.
At exactly 7:15 am, a health surveillance assistant (HSA) appears and enquires from guardians about symptoms the children have shown.
“My child has high temperature, is vomiting and has a cough. He hardly slept last night,” says Christina Saulo of Maraba Village, Traditional Authority Makhuwira in Chikwawa.
She looks exhausted. She has walked a nearly two-hour distance with her child weighing about 15 kilogrammes on her back.
She lies frail on Ward 3A’s bed at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Faines (not real name) is wearing a flowery pink top and a black beret covering her head. Her lips look dry and cracked but she tries to purse them as she tells her experience with recurrence TB.
“This is the second time I’m receiving TB treatment. I first had it two years ago,” says Faines, a Chileka resident, who has been receiving treatment at the hospital for two months now.