Knocking on Doors to Knock-out TB
Western Cape Government Health in the Witzenberg (Ceres) area launched a week-long Door-to-Door campaign in the towns of Ceres, Prince Alfred Hamlet and Wolseley. This campaign will stretch from 11 to 14 March 2013, and will culminate in a community awareness march on 19 March 2013. This march will start at the Ceres Traffic Department and end at the Town Hall where educational entertainment will be performed.
The aim of the Door-to-Door is to highlight:
- early detection of TB, especially in children under five years
- community support for people who are on TB medication
- the signs and symptoms of TB.
Due to the fact that people who are immune-compromised by illnesses such as HIV have an increased chance of contracting TB, the campaign will also address issues such as condom use and male medical circumcision.
Children under the age of five years are particularly vulnerable to TB infection. Early screening of children who have been exposed to a TB patient is very important as children tend to develop TB in a different manner to adults. This means that in children the obvious symptoms such as coughing and weight loss may not immediately be prevalent. Early screening can prevent complications such as a stroke or blindness in children who develop TB Meningitis. All children under five years of age who have been exposed to a TB patient need to visit their clinic so that they can receive medication (prophylaxis) that will prevent them from developing TB.
Community support for people with TB is vital not only so that patients are encouraged to finish their medication and thus be cured of TB, but also to ensure that the stigma that surrounds TB is reduced. There are various ways in which communities can support patients with TB. These ways include ensuring that TB patients visit the clinic as per their appointment schedule. Patients who are on TB treatment and are taking their medication as prescribed are able to safely join activities such as sports and church events that are held in the community.
Symptoms of TB include coughing for longer than two weeks, sweating at night while sleeping, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Should you or anyone you know have any or all of these symptoms, please visit your closest clinic.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Mr Theuns Botha says, “In line with the current National Strategic Plan, Western Cape Government supports service delivery efforts that aim to reduce TB & HIV infection, related deaths and discrimination against people affected by them. Taking the services into communities ensures improved understanding and will enable all citizens of the province to join the health department eradicating these diseases”.