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:
On Tuesday, 05 March, TB HIV Care (THC) received a notification of award for an exciting new community project to be implemented in the Eastern Cape from 01 April 2019.
The Eastern Cape Community Collaborative Cancer Initiative, as the project is known, is the second THC project to be funded by Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) and marks a notable diversification of the scope of services offered by THC. The overarching goal of the project is to support improved patient outcomes for lung cancer and other common cancers affecting people living in the catchment area of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, by raising community awareness of lung cancer, promoting and linking people to screening, supporting navigation through the health system as well as supporting palliative and survivorship activities.
This community-based project will link with and support the activities of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital Oncology Centre of Excellence, which is being supported through a separate funding agreement with BMSF.
You may be wondering why THC, an organisation that has historically focused on two of the most prevalent infectious diseases impacting South Africans (TB and HIV) would be branching out into lung cancer, so here are some interesting facts:
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in South Africa, accounting for around 16% of all cancer deaths, followed by cervix, breast and prostate cancer.
- Lung cancer is the second most common cancer affecting South African men and the fourth most common in women.
- People living with HIV who have access to effective antiretrovirals are living longer lives and co-morbid non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers are becoming an increasing health burden to this group and others. Yet many South Africans have limited awareness of cancer.
- There is evidence that TB, either active TB or successfully treated TB with resultant lung scarring, is a risk factor for the development of lung cancer.
- Lung cancer can present with similar clinical symptoms and X-ray changes to TB (incl. unexplained weight loss, a persistent cough, blood-stained sputum) and diagnosis may be delayed if health workers are not aware of the possibility of an alternate diagnosis to TB.
In light of this, we believe that it is important that links between TB and cancer service providers are strengthened and community awareness raised. TB HIV Care is therefore partnering with four community-based organisations (CBOs) in OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo districts to raise community awareness and support endeavours to equip community-based and primary health care providers with the necessary knowledge and skills to assess risks for lung cancer and refer patients for early screening.
TB HIV Care, led by Mandisa Mona (Advanced Clinical Care Facilitator), joined a team of ten delegates, including representatives from TB HIV Care’s Chris Hani district office, SEAD and the Chris Hani District Department of Health (DOH), on a four-day visit (26 February – 01 March) to Durban. The trip was organised by CAPRISA.
The purpose of the visit was to benchmark best practices in viral load monitoring and recognition of treatment failure; learn strategies to increase viral load coverage in ART clients; share Advanced Clinical Care (ACC) tools utilised for improved patient outcomes and share M&E tools for reporting purposes. All of which contribute to moving closer to achieving the third target of UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals (that by 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression).
The best practices will be piloted in the Chris Hani health district, with relevant stakeholders prioritising 10×10 facilities and escalated to other facilities supported by TB HIV Care in Amathole and OR Tambo.
The team also visited Clairwood Hospital (Thusong ARV Clinic) where ART patients with complications are managed. They were taken step-by-step through the management process of these patients.
Thanks so much to all involved.