March 24 marks World Tuberculosis (TB) Day; a day to create awareness about TB – an important day to those that want to make a difference in people’s lives.
TB still remains a stigma among Africans with some believing that once one is diagnosed with TB it’s the end of the road. Some do not want to be associated with a person that has been infected.
SA Positive News joined a march from Helen Joseph Hospital to Coronation Hospital in Johannesburg in raising awareness about TB, educating people, and most importantly ending the stigma.
Amongst the marchers were doctors, CEOs and survivors of TB. Speaking to SA Positive News, Dr Joell emphasized that TB is the number one cause of death in South Africa before COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organisation Global TB Report 2020, more people died of TB in 2019 than people who died of Covid-19 in 2020.
“TB is caused by the same bacteria but it can affect different places of your body such as your stomach, lungs and your spine and as much as there is different kinds of TB there is a cure and it is also preventable”, Dr Joell states.
“There is no reason that people should be locked away and TB is in fact something that we should not be ashamed of”.
TB is an airborne disease that affects everyone even infants and it is important to know that treatment works and people always survive it. Treatment is taken for 6 months and a change of diet is required.
Participating in the march, a grandmother of a two year old that was diagnosed with TB at the age of one stands proudly and shameless to share her journey of raising a grandchild that had TB.
The toddler had no appetite, had lost of weight and was rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with meningitis and TB.
The grandmother said she was surprised at how quickly the toddler recovered and responded to the medication within a month.
“Sticking to your medication and taking it daily at the same time is essential. I had to train my children about TB and about how to help with my grandchild”.
Prevention is better than cure getting more facts and knowing more about diseases saves lives. TB doesn’t kill but lack of information and not taking medication does.
By Yolanda ‘Dead Writer’ Sibeko