Community-driven TB month campaign

This year the Clinical HIV Research Unit’s (CHRU) world TB month campaign during March was led by the community advisory board (CAB) to respond to the needs of communities surrounding its clinical research sites. South Africa’s TB programme was disrupted by Covid-19 which saw a drop in testing and an increase in TB. A series of videos were produced for TikTok and Facebook, and on World TB Day, 24 March 2022, CAB members took to the streets with placards to encourage people to test and start TB treatment and to end stigma.

Ahead of the campaign, CAB members and researchers joined forces to brainstorm messages for the campaign. Together, they developed the following key messages:

  1. Untreated TB is deadly. Test for TB today. 
  2. TB is curable. If you have it, you must take treatment.
  3. Know the symptoms of TB: cough, chest pain, weight loss, coughing up blood, night sweats, weakness, shortness of breath.
  4. Test for TB today at your nearest health facility or clinic.
  5. TB is highly infectious. It spreads through the air from one person to another.
  6. Prevent TB: open windows, social distance and wear a mask.
  7. You can test for Covid and TB at the same time. They share symptoms.
  8. Don’t be scared. There is treatment for TB.
  9. Having TB is not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong.
  10. If you have TB and complete your treatment you can be cured.
  11. Treatment for drug resistant TB is now easier and shorter.
  12. Clinical trials have helped find shorter, better TB treatments.

Social media
In previous years, traditional media has been used to raise awareness, but this year, social media took centre stage via Facebook and TikTok. This is in line with the growing use of social media for health communication. Increasingly, healthcare organisations are using social media to provide information on diseases and answers to common questions and promote dialogue between communities and scientists.

The dissemination of accurate and responsible messages via social media platforms is playing a powerful role in addressing stigma.

Hashtags: #StopTB and #EndTB