Tuberculosis: It’s Time
Tuberculosis is a curable disease, yet it is still killing 1.5million people every year, and has left 10 million children orphaned. The theme for this year’s World TB Day is ‘It’s Time’, and Thare Machi Education is committed to calling time on people dying from a curable disease.
TB is a bacterial infection spread by droplets from sneezes and coughs of an infected person. It generally affects the lungs, leaving patients with a cough, extreme tiredness and a fever, and is especially dangerous for people with a reduced immune system due to HIV, malnutrition or tobacco use. TB is easily treated with a course of antibiotics lasting 6-8 months, which cures the patient and stops them from being infectious.
Despite the availability of a cure, TB is still killing 3 people every minute.
TB Can Be Cured
Thare Machi Education’s lesson ‘TB Can Be Cured‘ focuses on 3 problem areas which are perpetuating the spread of TB:
1. Knowing the symptoms – Many communities are not aware of what TB looks like and how it is making them sick. If they do not know the symptoms, then they cannot seek medical help when they first become ill, meaning that their condition will worsen and they may pass the infection on to others. Women are especially vulnerable as they are more likely to be illiterate and unable to read medical leaflets and posters explaining the symptoms.
2. Stigma – Because communities have not been armed with the facts, there are often taboos and myths surrounding TB. Social stigma and myths about witchcraft prevent patients from seeking help, without which 50% of HIV negative and almost all HIV positive patents will die of TB.
3. Drug resistance – Though very effective, the antibiotic course to treat TB is a lengthy process, and many people do not see the full course through. This leads to a mutated TB bacteria which cannot be treated by the normal antibiotic. The drug resistant strain can be passed on to others, and the treatment is much more expensive and much less effective. If patients do not follow the full course of antibiotics, it becomes very difficult to reduce the cases of TB.
TME’s lesson tackles these issues by providing vulnerable communities with key information about TB. ‘TB Can Be Cured’ teaches beneficiaries about the symptoms of TB, how it can be cured, the importance of finishing the treatment, and dispels harmful myths around the disease. The lesson is translated into local languages, so that absolutely everyone in the community can understand it, and it provides simple, accessible facts to help the viewers adopt positive behaviours and end TB in their community.