In the build up to World Tuberculosis Day 2017 celebrated annually on March 24, TB Alliance supported a pre-World TB Day Activity at Kiambu Township Primary School in Kiambu County. The activity was planned to raise public awareness around childhood TB (children between the ages of zero to 14 years; those in primary school) to encourage testing, early diagnosis and the use of the recently launched child-friendly medicines for TB treatment.
This year’s World TB day theme is ‘MulikaTB MalizaTB; Unite to End TB for a TB Free Generation.’ The event brought together primary school pupils and teachers from Kiambu County, County executive committee (CEC) officials, members for health and education department of Kiambu County, the National TB Program among other TB control partners.
During the event, various TB educative messages were disseminated through song, dance, poems and skits focusing mainly on prevention, screening and treatment. Children were given TB educational material and engaged in identifying the common symptoms of TB and daily TB preventive measures they must exercise in their daily lives. To crown the event, best students in the TB essay writing and arts competition were awarded for exemplary work.
The school TB Essay and Art competition titled ‘MulikaTB MalizaTB: How I will Fight TB in my Community,’ was undertaken across six counties with a high burden of childhood TB. These counties include Kiambu, Turkana, Mombasa, Nakuru, Meru and Nairobi.
The Head of National TB Program Dr Enos Masini took the opportunity to interact with the children, who performed exceptionally in answering his quizzes on TB. This to a great extent showed how well the children had internalized the TB messages during the education program. He called upon the children to exercise preventive measures such as opening windows and covering their mouths when coughing, and also prompt any of their relatives to go for screening if they have the
TB symptoms. These sentiments were also emphasized by the Director of Promotive and Preventive Health Services, Kiambu County, Dr Mutile Wanyee, who noted that children have great potential in spreading the word on TB to their relatives and friends. County Executive Committee Member, Dr Jonah Mwangi discussed the colossal strides that have been made in the treatment and management of TB over the years. “No person should die of TB, because it is treatable,” he emphasized.
Speaking at the event, the guest of honour, County Executive Committee (CEC) for Education, ICT, Culture & Social Services, Esther Ndirangu praised the National TB program for creating TB awareness in schools and promised support from the county in future endeavors. “The department of Education assures full support in this process and together we shall achieve the set target,” she said. Ms Ndirangu also noted that the County was ready to support children in building their potential. She gave an example of how Kiambu County supported Miss World Africa, Evelyn Njambi who hails from Kiambu, in her quest as a beauty queen. Ms Njambi, who also graced the occassion engaged the children in identifying TB symptoms and ways of preventing the spread of TB.
In preceding activities leading to the March 20 event, TB Alliance engaged children the six counties across the country, providing them with information regarding on TB and distributing educational materials. Selected schools within the counties were then enrolled in an essay and arts competition, aimed at establishing how well the children had assimilated the information. The students with the top three essays and the best art would be rewarded individually and also win their respective schools different gifts in form of books, stationery, art material and a computer for the winning school.
The event was crowned by presentation of the awards to winners, amidst cheering and jubilation from the children. The top three students in the essay-writing category were awarded various reading material and stationery while the top student in art was awarded various art materials. Books and stationery were awarded to schools that produced the top three students in essay writing, with the top student also winning his school a computer. The school whose pupil won the arts competition was awarded various art materials. All the 20 participating schools in Kiambu County were also awarded certificates of participation.
TB Alliance supports children activities as they are considered the best agents of change due to their vocal power and influence within the family setting. In this regard, the National TB program considered this medium more effective in creating TB awareness, hence the focus on primary schools for TB education programs. This means that TB messages sent through children are likely to be more impactful compared to messages sent through other media. The TB program intends to expand the TB awareness program through schools, in the journey towards ending TB.