Last night (Sunday, 24 March), St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town was lit up in red to mark World TB Day 2019.
It was part of the Stop TB Partnership’s international campaign to shine a spotlight on tuberculosis: Light up the World in Red to End TB.
St George’s Cathedral was chosen as a symbol of this year’s campaign because South Africa has adopted the “It’s Time” theme, but adapted it to say:
It’s time…for religious leaders, parliamentarians and legislators to lead the fight to end TB in South Africa
This theme was chosen in recognition of the role of faith-based leaders as powerful influencers in South Africa. It is hoped that they can contribute in at least two ways:
- By exemplifying the principles of acceptance and inclusion that underpin most faiths and welcoming and supporting those affected by TB, thereby combatting stigma associated with the disease; and
- By contacting their local clinics to invite them to perform health screenings in their congregations.
Earlier in the day, South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, together with the National Assembly Speaker, Ms Baleka Mbete, joined the Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba and other faith-based leaders, parliamentarians, civil society and TB ambassadors at a special 09h30 service at St George’s Cathedral dedicated to those affected by TB in South Africa.
TB HIV Care’s Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) project reached a major milestone when the TV and radio campaign kicked off this week.
Six public service announcements (PSAs) made for TV and radio were aired on all SABC stations/channels from Sunday, 10 March. The project team and our production company, CMT, spent many sleepless nights crafting the messages and deciding on which parts to include and exclude. The overall message we wanted to send was that every choice has a consequence – and not all choices need to lead to negative consequences. In the PSAs, viewers and listeners are taken through three different scenarios, with three different consequences, that determine the future of each character.
South Africa’s HIV infection rate continues to increase in the adolescent girls and young women (15-24 years), men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex worker populations. These are the populations targeted with the PSAs – with a particular focus on young girls and women.
The National Department of Health built this campaign to promote social and behaviour change and communicate ways in which society can change its approach towards certain issues. This project is also about empowering women, MSM and sex workers to make the right choices at different points in their life.
The messages portrayed on TV and translated into radio skits focus on the following themes:
- We call for an end to gender-based violence and want men to use their power or strength for good. We call on communities (the power of collective action) to stand up and take action against gender-based violence.
- We call on young girls and young women to overcome their fear of clinics and visit clinics (especially Youth Zones and Youth Clubs) in order to receive combination prevention services (including condoms, contraceptives and/or PrEP) to prevent STIs, teen pregnancy and HIV infection.
- We call on young people to test and know their status.
- We call on young people to adhere to their medication if they receive a positive status – and to keep using condoms if they receive a positive (or negative) status.
- We call on young people to use condoms and see people who carry condoms as sexy and desirable, because they care about protecting the future health of their partners.
- We call on young people to choose a condom in all their sexual interactions in order to reduce the risk of infection with STIs and HIV or the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
The response to the PSAs has been positive, with many people using our dedicated WhatsApp line to ask further questions and seek help for their health concerns.
If you are interested in finding out more about the campaign please click on the links below: