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URC Programs Recognize World TB Day 2014
TB CARE II is working throughout Bangladesh to raise awareness of TB among vulnerable groups, including children, urban and rural populations, and low-income populations. World TB Day 2014 (WTBD) presented a great opportunity to disseminate TB messages that specifically target these groups. For example, to successfully reach children and their parents, TB CARE II organized its social and behavior change strategy in locations where children congregate in large numbers: the two biggest amusement parks in Dhaka, Shishu Park and Shishu Mela. On World TB Day (March 24th), entry tickets to the parks contained a printed awareness message on pediatric TB (see photo, below): “A child has increased risk of TB if a family member is infected with TB. If a family member is infected with TB, take your child immediately to the nearest health center. TB treatment is available free of cost at the government health facilities and select NGO clinics.” Families were also offered a sticker and a leaflet with similar awareness messages and children received small blue and white balloons branded with the TB CARE II Project logo.
Elsewhere in Dhaka, at three busy hospitals—the National TB Control Hospital in Mohakhali, the Chest Disease Hospital in Shymoli and BIRDEM hospital—three huge (8 ft. x 4 ft.), colorful helium balloons, displayed for seven days leading up to World TB Day, reminded visitors, “TB is Curable.” Each of these hospitals sees many people every day who present TB-like symptoms. Leaflets distributed at these locations contained such messages as, “If you are coughing for more than three weeks, get tested for TB” and, “TB diagnosis and treatment is free.”
A significant rally on World TB Day originated in Dhaka and was attended by many TB CARE II staff. TB CARE II field staff participated in rallies and discussion sessions, and six districts offered folk song performances that incorporated TB awareness messages. Targeted TB awareness commercials aired on a cable channel in one district, Rangpur. Nationwide, TB CARE II ran radio spots on recognizing TB symptoms, such as cough and fever. More than 100 radio spots ran on three different radio stations, including the “Bangladesh Betar” station, with national coverage that reaches the country’s most rural populations. The other two radio stations reached urban office workers and others commuting to and from work at the peak hours of 7–9 am and 5–7 pm. Newspaper hawkers distributed leaflets with TB awareness messages along with their newspapers. Finally, the project will sent out a voice SMS March 20–24th that reached 600,000 people, with an emphasis low-income populations. The 20-second SMS provided concise information about TB symptoms and treatment.
TB CARE II Bangladesh, started in October 2010, provides technical support to the National TB Program in its countrywide efforts to reduce morbidity, mortality and transmission of TB until the disease is no longer a national public health issue. Project goals include achieving universal access to directly observed therapy through community efforts; strengthening TB monitoring and evaluation; reducing the incidence of multidrug resistant TB by supporting infection control measures and community-based treatment models; and strengthening management capacity at all levels.
USAID's Tuberculosis Prevention Program (TPP) Georgia
By Tsira Chakhaia, ASCM Advisor and Jessica Yaman, Project Coordinator
The Tuberculosis Prevention Project (TPP) in Georgia, in coordination with the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs (MOLHSA), the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC&PH) and the National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NCTBLD) hosted several activities on WTBD 2014 and disseminated TB messages that spoke to all stakeholders: policymakers, health care workers, patients and the general population.
At the national level, TPP and NCDC&PH hosted a high-level meeting on March 24, 2014 attended by US Government and Government of Georgia representatives, as well as other stakeholders. Meeting activities included an analysis of global TB trends and a discussion of progress and gaps in fighting TB in Georgia. Other topics highlighted were implementation of a national TB program in prisons, the contributions made by USAID’s TB Prevention Project and ideas for future collaboration on activities aimed at preventing the spread of TB.
The TPP team arranged an art workshop for children afflicted with TB at the NCTBLD. Art teachers hired for the workshop taught the children how to use a variety of artistic techniques. The finished pieces of art were displayed at the meeting.
With NCDC&PH, TPP Georgia also developed a public service announcement (PSA) on childhood TB in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma, which first aired March 20th, 2014 with the following message (in Georgian):
“Children can also get TB. If a child is near someone who has, or might have, TB, the child needs to be tested for TB. Visit your nearest clinic and test for TB—it’s free. If TB treatment is initiated quickly, TB can be successfully cured.”
Throughout WTBD, television celebrities, including the popular “Midday Show” hosts, wore WTBD scarves. They explained why they were wearing the World TB Day apparel and talked about WTBD and the importance of this day.
Students, the TPP team, NCTLD, NCDC&PH and other stakeholders distributed informational materials (leaflets, posters, etc.) in different public places, such as grocery stores and movie theaters. Distributors wore WTBD T-shirts and scarves. WTBD buttons, posters, T-shirts, scarves and other materials with messages were distributed during meetings, events, TB activities in the street and in other public places and at medical facilities.
The Ministry of Corrections and Legal Advice (The Ministry) marked WTBD in penitentiary health facilities. In order to support efforts to establish a positive public attitude toward TB treatment in prisons, the Ministry linked TB-related messages to art and literature. The event organizers invited public figures to present 100 fiction books about TB, to be read during treatment or rehabilitation. The books included stickers with World TB day messages and contained handwritten messages from the public figures. The books will remain in the prison libraries.
USAID CEPAT Indonesia
By Nurfina Bactiar, Field Advisor and Colleen Longacre, Program Officer
Indonesia has the third highest burden of TB in the world, yet only one in five (21%) of Indonesians are aware of the risks of TB and how to treat it properly. The USAID Community Empowerment of People Against Tuberculosis (CEPAT) project has been working since November 2012 to promote a comprehensive and coordinated approach to engage communities and religious leaders in supporting TB services, by helping identify TB suspects and supporting treatment adherence among patients. CEPAT builds on the infrastructure and experience of its prime implementing partner LKNU, the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia.
CEPAT's World TB Day events culminated with an 'art happening' entitled, "Stop the Chain Reaction." A domino-fall picture depicted the chain reaction that occurs when someone with TB spreads the virus.
For World TB Day, March 24, 2014, the project organized a door-to-door campaign in the target cities of Jakarta, Blitar, Kediri, Cirebon, Depok, and Banding Barat, spreading key messages and distributing fliers with contact information of health centers that treat TB. Video footage from this event was compiled and presented by the project on March 26, 2014.
CEPAT Key Messages for World TB Day 2014
- TB is curable, but our current efforts to find, treat and cure everyone who gets ill with the disease are not sufficient.
- Globally, of the nine million people a year who get sick with TB, a third of them do not get the TB services that they deserve. Many of these three million people live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities.
- We believe that no one should be left behind in the fight against TB. This World TB Day, we call for a global effort to find, treat and cure the three million and accelerate progress towards zero TB deaths, infections, suffering and stigma.
- To reach the three million and move towards eliminating TB as a public health problem we will need to aggressively scale up TB programs, especially for the most vulnerable groups and in hotspots, while investing in research and development for the new tools that we urgently need.
- If we are successful we can ensure that we meet the Millennium Development Goals, accelerate the fight against TB and start to talk realistically about eliminating TB as a public health problem in the next two decades.
Also on March 26, 2014, LKNU, CEPAT’s prime implementing partner and the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, launched a book entitled, TB Treatment: Religious Leader Oversight. This book provides information on TB from both medical and religious perspectives, and is designed to provide guidance to religious leaders as to how to speak out about TB in the context of their ministry. LKNU is also planning to launch a website to provide up-to-date TB information for health care workers, religious leaders, and community members.
By Jilly B. Motsa, Communications & KM Officer, USAID ASSIST Project/URC
The USAID ASSIST program in Swaziland, which supports the country's National TB Control Program (NTCP) used the nation's newspapers to disseminate information on TB prevention, treatment and control in the month of March. A series of five articles (one more than originally planned) appeared in the popular Sunday Observer. The topics of the articles were: Basic Facts About TB, Multi-Drug Resistant TB, Childhood TB, World TB Day: Reaching the 3 million, and Why Swaziland Still has High TB Infections. Our article on childhood TB ran in the issue that featured photographs from Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini's recent wedding; copies of that issue sold out quickly.
NTCP Communications Officer Gcinile Mavimbela also participated in a morning current affairs program, which airs during the morning rush hour on Swaziland Broadcasting Information Services Radio. The interview focused on raising awareness of the disease and announced activities supporting World TB Day, which included a march, an address by the Minister of Health, Sibongile Simelane, TB screenings and outreach programs.
Mavimbela also noted the continued support that NTCP receives from URC, technically and financially, which has helped reduce the impacts of TB on the nation.