Our colleagues in Tanzania successfully hosted the ERASE-TB Investigator Meeting last month, and still found the time to hold a well-attended community event to mark WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY (WTBD) 2022! This year the was "INVEST TO END TB. SAVE LIVES". Community engagement is a key pillar for ERASE-TB and this inclusive event is a good example of how we approach this in order to benefit the local people and to ensure the continued acceptability and relevance of the project.
The Social sciences and Community Engagement at NIMR-MMRC was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring they participated effectively in commemorating the World TB Day (WTBD) 2022. They did so by hosting an engaging event held on 24th March 2022, Mbarali District in Chimala ward at the Stand Mpya yard. Utilising their key networks, sponsorship was obtained from a variety of TB projects including TB Sequel, NC008, CUT-TB, ERASE-TB, PriMe, TB Alliance-CE. The Regional Medical Office (RMO) and the Regional Tuberculosis and Leprosy Coordinator (RTLC), organised stakeholders to assist in this commemoration.
The guest of honour was the Mbarali District Commissioner, Hon. Reuben Mfune whose speech strongly implored the public to take immediate action to seek medical care when symptomatic and to refrain from using herbals and over the counter medications without testing for TB and receiving valid results.
There was a brief demonstration on site that was well received by Hon. Reuben Mfune. The demonstration involved different stakeholders who marched carrying banners with the theme “Invest to end TB. Save Lives”, an important message targeted at the whole community.
Voluntary testing of HIV and of TB by using a GeneXpert machine was readily available at the site. Services offered were free of charge and there was a good uptake of these. Other additional activities included an inauguration of the Polio Vaccine to children under five years of age. The community are anxious to ensure their children are vaccinated to develop immunity, following a recent outbreak in the neighbouring Malawi.
While these activities carried on, a Live Radio session took place from 08:00Hrs to 09:00Hrs EAT, where a representative of staff from the TB department gave a speech on the general overview of TB. Alongside, a member from a non-governmental group MKUTA (a voluntary-based community organisation) that includes TB survivors, testified on how he survived the deadly disease. (A community engagement officer supported both speakers.)
Many thanks to Alfred Mfanga, Doreen Pamba, Simeon Mwanyonga and all colleagues at NIMR-MMRC.