Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebrating World TB Day

by Nicholas Gisemba

The world celebrates World Tuberculosis Day every year on March 24. It is a day to commemorate achievements undertaken in curbing the disease. Its origin was discovered in the year 1882 by Dr. Robert Koch, also a scientist when he discovered TB.

In Kibera, residents had the opportunity to come together to mark this important day as they started by a procession at the DC ground around 10am walking through sections of the slums carrying banners with TB messages. As they walked through parts of the slum, Baraka za Ibrahim Band did their jig and this pulled crowds to join in the procession.

Upon arrival at the Undugu grounds, several groups showcased plays that had clear messages on TB day, while others had a chance of showcasing their acrobatics skills.  The event was attended by local leaders, and some of the Non-Governmental Organiations (NGOs) that provide health care of services in Kibera, like AMREF, MSF Belgium and Center for disease control (CDC).  The chief guest was the area District Officer (D.O.) Joel Mwangala.

Kibera Hamlets showcasing their skills
In his speech, he urged residents to help fight TB. “This year we want to have zero deaths that are arising from TB because TB is curable, and also medical services are free at all government facilities, that’s why we are here today to help learn what we can do as a community,” noted Mwangala.
The D.O. also requested that people present help teach those who were not present on the day by passing information learned for empowerment.

District Officer Joel Mwangala giving his speech
Some of the TB patients had an opportunity to share their story in public like Lorna Akeyo Bonyo, a single mother.  “I was a TB patient recently and that is not good experience to undergo as I used to take medication on a daily basis for a period of three months.” Then she poses, “after three months I stopped taking medication simply because I thought I was healed, little did I know more was to come, I had to be subjected to be under medication care for 8 months instead of the initial 6 months.”  She urged residents to take medication without fail if one is under TB medication.

Lorna shares her experience with TB
TB is an infectious disease that spreads from one person to another when someone who is sick with TB coughs or sneezes. If another person breathes in the germs, they could get infected.TB can be fatal if not treated, but curable if the person is diagnosed early and takes full course treatment.

The author of this piece, Nicholas Gisemba,  is 22 years old and a resident of Kibera.  He is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club.

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