The Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) joins the world in commemorating the World Tuberculosis Day. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced his discovery of the TB bacillus that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease. The World Health Organisation held its first TB commemoration in 1982 on the 24th of March and every year after, marking this year its 39th anniversary.
World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world. For SAYWHAT, World TB day speaks to TB prevention, control and to raise awareness of the challenges that hinder progress toward the elimination of this devastating disease amongst adolescents and young people in the Southern Africa region.
Apply themed: “The Clock is Ticking” points that the world is running out of time to act in ending TB. The COVID-19 pandemic made access to TB services difficult for many, particularly young people. Globally, an estimated 1.4 million failed to receive TB care in 2020 than in 2019, according to the preliminary report released by the World Health Organization. Zimbabwe and (the Southern African region have/has not been spared).
Despite the disruptions compounded by this crisis, TB prevention and treatment should be accessible to everyone in all care lines so that a universal health coverage is obtained, subsequently ending TB by 2035 in line with global goals.
TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
Adolescents and young people are not immune to TB, they are either infected or affected by this disease. TB is both preventable and curable yet millions of lives are being lost every year across the globe. Thus, now more than ever, information about one’s health is vital. SAYWHAT would like to encourages young people to get tested, seek treatment early and adhere to their medication for better treatment and overall health outcomes. It is the organisation’s vision that young people lead healthy lives, through getting access to information, medication and treatment.
SAYWHAT calls upon partners, stakeholders, the government, media houses and members of the public to take bold steps and sound the TB awareness bell louder. The time to act is now! Remember, your health is your responsibility, take pride in it, and get tested for TB today.
A TB free society is possible, it begins with you and me.