CYNTHIA MASEKO writes: Vulnerable populations are the target of a new public awareness campaign to encourage adherence to TB treatment. The campaign, called Sanofi TB Themba, was launched on Wednesday.
Working side by side with public health initiatives, Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company, will take the campaign to the townships, prisons, informal settlements, clinics and hospitals.
According to Neo Molusi, product manager at Sanofi, “The character Themba was created to epitomize the ideal TB patient to help other patients with their own treatment journey.”
Every 18 seconds a person dies from TB; in 2015, 10.4 million new TB cases were diagnosed; and TB is among the 10 leading causes of death worldwide.
“The key messages of the campaign are that TB is curable; it takes six months to complete TB treatment, and what the key symptoms of TB are,” said Mr Molusi.
Mr Molusi also announced that Sanofi is working with WHO to intensify the battle against TB with the aim of eventually eradicating it.
Themba, which means hope in Nguni languages, seeks to give hope to patients and future patients that they too can overcome TB.
At the launch, Jabulo Zulu, said: “In 2014, I was diagnosed with HIV, and early last year, I had TB of the lungs. I was put on TB treatment immediately and thanks to family support, I completed treatment and the TB was treated successfully.”
A nurse who attended the launch, Ms Zanele Zwane, emphasised that early diagnosis, treatment, healthy eating and support all contribute to the successful treatment of TB. “There is no need for anyone to die from TB or HIV. Let’s work together to end the stigma and discrimination against people with TB or those living with HIV,” she said.