#WORLDTBDAY 2023: Ifakara joins the campaign to #EndTB
Today, March 24, Ifakara Health Institute joins the world to mark World TB Day (#WTD2023) – a day observed annually to commemorate the date when Dr. Robert Koch discovered Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) on March 24, 1882.
The theme of World TB Day 2023 – ‘Yes! We Can End TB.’ – sends a message of hope to those affected and encourages high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new WHO recommendations, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic by 2030.
In conforming with this year’s theme, Ifakara’s commitment to tackling TB is evident through ongoing research and clinical trials the Institute is involved with in collaboration with global partners. From participating in TB vaccine trials, TB drug trials, TB diagnostic trials, and scientific research which informs policies on the control of TB at large, Ifakara is determined to find more effective treatment remedies for drug-resistant TB.
Ifakara’s #WTD outreach engagement this year
For this year, Ifakara marked the Day by engaging with the community in Bagamoyo. The main engagement - held on March 25, 2023, involved visiting Dunda Secondary School, in Bagamoyo, Coast Region.
Dr. Omary Juma, the Ifakara Health Institute Community Engagement Coordinator, says Ifakara staff participated in several activities intended to educate about TB that involved students and teachers of the school.
The students also engaged in a competition whereby they displayed their artistic talents of how best they understood the symptoms of the disease. Students with the best art works were ere awarded token of appreciation and cold drinks with biscuits.
The one-day event was organized with support from the Community Advisory Board (CAB), Speakers Dr. Omar Juma, Sayed Abdul Hai, the Chairman of CAB and Secretary Mikidadi Dhamiri spoke about the scourge of the disease and efforts being made to curtail it.
During a lecture session, Dr. Omar Juma explained how Mycobacterium tuberculosis attacks human lungs and if not treated on time, could cause great suffering and lead to death. He also narrated the attempts of the scientists and workers at Ifakara supported by TB Alliance, Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, USAID and others at the forefront of combating the disease.
Mr. Sayed Abdul Hai gave a historical glimpse of the tireless efforts of Dr. Robert Koch in his research work and discovery of Mycrobectarium Tuberculosis which enabled him to be awarded the Nobel Prize.
The students were shocked to learn how the TB disease afflicted human life with almost 1.6 million deaths and almost 10 million people who were victims of the disease but later cured in the recent past. “The incessant war against TB will continue, and hence we say “Yes, we can end TB”, the Chairman concluded.
On her part, Secretary Mikidadi Dhamiri asked the students to carry forward the knowledge they acquired in the one-day seminar of TB Day, to family members, friends and neighbors.
Ifakara did similar events in the past during which doctors and nurses from various projects participated in coordinated activities aimed to raise awareness about the chronic disease. The activities involved hosting sports bonanzas.
Ifakara recent contributions to TB research
Over the past months, Ifakara researchers have contributed to various TB research with the most recent one involving ultrasound tests in managing tuberculosis outside the lungs – technically known as “extrapulmonary tuberculosis”.
The researchers worked along with colleagues from the Swiss TPH and the University of Basel and shared the lessons learned from the largest trial that was conducted between 2018 and 2020 in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.
In September 2022, Ifakara and the TB Alliance hosted the media and other stakeholders in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) in Bagamoyo and shared updates on the role of the Bagamoyo community in the war against TB.
Ifakara Health Institute works with the community, through the Members of the community advisory board (CAB), to educate, raise awareness and conduct strategic research and campaigns about all forms of TB where it works and implement its interventions in Bagamoyo.
During this event, Dr. Juma, Ifakara Health Institute Community Engagement Coordinator, briefed the media about another milestone in the treatment of chronic TB as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The announcement read that for the first time in the recent medical development history, almost all patients with chronic TB, which is technically called DR-TB, can be treated for six months using oral drugs.
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Last year’s engagement on #WTD
On World TB Day 2022, Ifakara marked the day with engagements aimed to help raise public awareness and educate people about the impact of TB around the world. Held at Mwananyamala Regional Referral Hospital, the events brought together head scientists from Ifakara’s Interventions and Clinical Trials for TB department, staff from various departments at Mwananyamala hospital, social welfare workers, NGOs, and the community in general.