NIMR team, Mbeya, getting the message across for 2023 WTBD
The theme for World TB Day 2023 "YES! WE CAN END TB" is designed to be a positive call to action for the global community to collaborate to end Tuberculosis by 2030. The World Health Organisation's TB Report 2022 shows that TB mortality rates increased for the second year running and that TB incidence has also increased for the first time in more than a decade.
As part of their ongoing community engagement policy, staff at our three ERASE-TB sites, utilised WTBD 2023 to educate, sensitise and reach out to their stakeholders, whilst also offering a range of free health tests. As can be seen, there was also very much an element of fun and enjoyment employed in these commemorations, all designed to encourage lasting community participation.
At INS Mozambique, the team began their WTBD activities on 23rd March, starting with a visit to Noroeste 1 Secondary School where they gave the students a lecture on TB as well as the importance of WTBD in highlighting the disease.
The following day, the team held a fair to mark this important day which as attended by over 150 people! There were many fun activities, including physical exercise sessions, alongside a range of tests and examinations available to everyone, including blood pressure measurement, glycemia testing, TB screening and HIV tests.
INS team at Noroeste School; keeping fit at the Fair; and taking the opportunity for health checks
NIMR-MMRC held a commemoration event for WTBD 2023 which was graced by several important local health leaders and dignitaries. A procession from Mwanjelwa to Kabwe bus stand took place led by an entertainment vehicle followed by ten motorcycles and crowds of people designed to increase community awareness and encourage local engagement.
Mr. Weston William Assisya, NIMR general service manager, on behalf of the NIMR-Mbeya Center Director, highlighted the extensive work by NIMR on prevention and treatment of TB whilst acknowledging the collaboration of the government and other stakeholders in fighting TB in Mbeya and the highlands region. Speeches from Hon. Beno Moris Malisa, District Commissioner in Mbeya Region, and the Regional Tuberculosis and Leprosy Coordinator (RTLC) Dr. Osmunda Mwanyika, emphasised the importance of networking and collaborations among TB stakeholders and how this will be the driving force towards ending TB in Tanzania.
The well-attended NIMR Mbeya WTBD event
The event participants also heard from a TB survivor about the impact stigma and also of the lengthy treatment regime had upon their life. This was followed by an enlightening Q&A session where the local community asked searching questions and voiced some of their key concerns around TB. Throughout the day, free tests were made available for TB, HIV, Diabetes and weight management, which were taken up by many of the 400 plus attendees.
At BRTI, Zimbabwe, World TB Day on the 24th March was an important day for the BRTI ERASE-TB team – not only was it a day to raise awareness about ending TB, but it also marked the end of recruitment to IMBA Hutano (one of the ERASE-TB nested sub-studies) and the start of the end of study visits where we will be saying goodbye and thanking our participants who we have been following up over the past two years.
We also had to say goodbye to one of our team, Sibusiwe Sibanda, who is leaving for an exciting new role. Busi has been a very important part of the team, in particular with her work on liaising with our participants about their study visits and making sure that people who are found to have a health condition as part of the study are linked to care.
To commemorate the occasion the team held their regular Friday morning meeting and did some training on the end of study procedures. A team lunch followed to celebrate the past year's achievements and look ahead to another busy year where we will start to see some of the important results of the ERASE-TB study.
Research Assistants Busi Sibanda & Evelyn Moses
BRTI Team Celebrations