World TB Day Campaign Reaches 3.9 Million Kyrgyz People

May 18th, 2023 | News


Each year World TB Day is commemorated on March 24 to raise awareness about and support efforts to eliminate tuberculosis (TB). During this year’s month-long “Yes! We can end TB!” campaign the USAID Cure Tuberculosis project, implemented by JSI, reached more than 3.9 million people in Kyrgyzstan, where TB remains a public health challenge. The campaign focused on educating the public about TB, dispelling myths and reducing associated stigma, supporting people with TB and their families, and promoting early detection and treatment.

Throughout March, the Cure Tuberculosis project and its partners held a number of online and in-person activities including quizzes on social media, sports events, marches, TV and radio broadcasts, and information sessions in public places. The project and its partners also conducted various contests to encourage children, students, and journalists to learn about and share TB information. During Friday prayers, 1,200 mosques nationwide, each with 1,000–5,000 worshippers, dedicated sermons to the importance of supporting people with TB instead of stigmatizing and discriminating against them.

Working closely with the mass media to improve TB coverage continued to be a key aspect of the campaign. The Cure Tuberculosis project organized a press café at which journalists heard from health care representatives and clinical experts on the epidemiological situation of TB; modern approaches to diagnosis and treatment; and reforms in Kyrgyzstan’s TB service provision. Journalists also met with former TB patients, representatives of civil society organizations, volunteers, and community leaders, who discussed their experiences of treatment, stigma, and efforts to address TB at the local level. These personal stories helped journalists develop materials to provide a more accurate understanding of TB and change people’s attitudes toward those who have it.

Ministry of Health Event in Kyrgyzstan for World TB Day

The World TB Day campaign culminated on March 31 with an event at the Bishkek Park shopping center, organized by the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, National TB Center, Republican Center for Health Promotion and Mass Communication, USAID Support to TB Patients, National Red Crescent Society, Association of Village Health Committees, the Bilge Club, and Bishkek Medical College. Over 1,000 people participated in quizzes, musical performances, flash mobs, interactive activities, and information sessions. People who had been cured and volunteered to help others with treatment told their stories and emphasized the importance of family and community support and compassion for people undergoing the long and difficult treatment.

World TB Day

Speaking about the campaign, Cholpon Ibraimova, Cure Tuberculosis project’s Social and Behavior Change Team lead, said “By engaging with communities, the media, and other interested parties, and providing accurate information and dispelling myths, we work to eliminate the stigma associated with TB and promote early detection and treatment. We are grateful for the support and participation of all partners in this campaign.”

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