Issue #: 
March 14, 2012

In this issue of The Soul Beat:

In commemoration of the upcoming World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24, this issue of The Soul Beat looks at communication related to TB prevention and treatment. The newsletter includes a selection of programme experiences, research reports, and resource materials from the Soul Beat Africa website that look at the role of the media in TB prevention, TB communication campaigns and strategies to raise awareness and mobilise communities, as well as the need to address the links between TB and HIV/AIDS.

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1. Enhancing Community Engagement in TB Research and Communication in Uganda
Panos Eastern Africa, with support from the Welcome Trust, is implementing a 12-month project, from 2011 to 2012, designed to increase the visibility of tuberculosis (TB) research in Uganda and make more information on TB available to the public. Panos is working with TB researchers, the media, rural radio, academia, civil society organisations, government policy makers, and the general public to raise the profile of TB. In addition, by generating exposure for existing research, the project hopes to encourage further research on TB. This includes building capacity of journalists interested in covering issues of TB research through trainings, awarding of media fellowships, and mentorship opportunities.

2. Reporting Health Research: Connecting Journalists and TB Researchers in Zambia
By Ingrid Yngstrom
This case study, published by Panos London, shares recommendations and lessons learned during a communications project to improve media reporting on tuberculosis (TB) in Zambia. Project partners Relay and the health research consortium TARGETS, brought together journalists and TB researchers in Zambia to explore stigma around TB and to explore areas of potential conflict and collaboration. Health researchers then acted as expert advisors to journalists who produced a series of national newspaper articles and radio programmes on both national and community radio. According to the report, the overall findings show that long-term investment in improving the communication skills of both journalists and researchers is needed to produce lasting change in the quality of public health reporting in Zambia.

3. What Journalists Can Do in the Fight Against TB
By David Dickson
In this opinion-based article on the SciDev website, David Dickson names the two oft-quoted reasons for the upsurge in TB: the reduced immunity caused by HIV/AIDS, and the rise of drug resistant strains of TB. While recognising the increasing attention to TB control by international agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and private foundations, he offers specifics about what more needs to be done. First, he names the need for more money to fill the funding gap for increasing TB prevention programmes. Second, he mentions raising awareness in both public and political communities. The article looks at the role journalists play in informing people "about the nature and extent of this disease, the shortcomings in current treatments and future possibilities for improved control."

4. Reporting TB in Ethiopia
By Mekuria Meksaha
According to this paper, published by Panos Eastern Africa in November 2009, TB, particularly HIV and TB co-infection, is highly neglected in terms of media coverage in Ethiopia. Panos Eastern Africa, in collaboration with Panos Ethiopia, conducted a rapid review of media coverage of HIV and AIDS/TB co-infections in Ethiopia with the objective of identifying challenges and opportunities in improving reporting on these issues. The report states that public awareness and clear understanding of these diseases are crucial to minimising the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS and TB co-infections, and the media are a strategic resource in shaping and influencing public attitudes. The study found that there is an urgent need for a well-informed, reliable, and vigilant media to enhance the flow of HIV and AIDS/TB information to Ethiopian audiences.

5. Sorting Fact from Fiction: Improving Media Reporting on TB
This document is the seventh in a series of briefing documents for the media from Panos London's Relay programme, which works with Southern print and broadcast journalists to communicate the findings of academic research in an accessible way. The briefing is premised on the claim that journalists can lead the way in the fight against TB by raising awareness, dispelling fear, challenging policymakers, and providing clear, factual research information. To that end, "Sorting Fact from Fiction" explores why scientific information is vital and provides tips and ideas for media professionals seeking to develop powerful stories with a human face. The publication also raises a series of questions to spark journalists' curiosity and to lead them in the direction of new stories.



World TB Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of several million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. For more information, visit the Stop TB website.



6. TB Behaviour Change Communication Project in Ghana
In 2006, the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation (GSMF) undertook a behaviour change communication project which formed part of the broader Ghana National Tuberculosis (TB) Campaign strategy. Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the project included the training of peer educators, peer education activities at transport hubs, and the development and positioning of giant TB billboards. Various two-day tuberculosis workshops were held in 10 regions across Ghana to train these peer educators in tuberculosis-related information. In total, the project trained over 130 peer educators nationwide.

7. TB&ME - Global
TB&ME is a collaborative blogging project by patients being treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in locations all around the world. They write about their experiences of living with MDR-TB and the treatment they receive. The TB&ME project is run by Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The project uses an interactive blog designed to give MDR-TB patients a platform to speak out about the issues which affect their lives, about how treatment and services could be improved, and how it feels to have this disease. It also provides an opportunity for patients to tell the world, in their own words, that MDR-TB is a global problem and to share their experiences with others who might be in the same position.

8. Communication and Ethics in Tuberculosis: New Dialogues among the Affected People, Civil Society and Health Specialists
By Estela Roeder and María Van der Linde
This PowerPoint presentation from 2009 aims to foster reflection on and a debate about the role of communication in addressing TB. It proposes a conceptual framework of communication and its relation to ethics, building from previous experience in order to develop the advocacy, communication, and social mobilisation (ACSM) model. The need for communication in the TB context is outlined based on the observation that 2 discourses and attitudes coexist in a health care centre: On the one hand, there is a rational fear (staff knows about the contagion process, the stages of tuberculosis, and the cure); on the other, there is an irrational fear (where staff has little information on the topic and blames the patient for being a carrier).

9. Report of a WHO Consultation on Strengthening the Active Engagement of Civil Society Organizations in the Global TB Prevention, Care and Control Efforts
By Haileyesus Getahun
This report, published in October 2010, summarises results of a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation in 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland on civil society engagement in global tuberculosis (TB) prevention, care, and control efforts. The meeting participants represented international, national, and local non-governmental organisations (NGO), faith-based organisations (FBO), community-based organisations (CBO), and patient-based organisations working on health and development, patient support, and advocacy. Participants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) also attended the meeting which had the objective of an exchange of experiences and ways of working together to strengthen efforts for prevention, care, and control of TB worldwide.



The Soul Beat Africa Malaria themesite and online networking platform is for practitioners utilising social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) for malaria prevention, control, and treatment in Africa. The malaria themesite offers an ever growing collection of practical tools, research and resources and is accompanied by a bi-monthly e-magazine (see archives here). This Malaria initiative is supported by the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and C-Change (a project of FHI 360) and is implemented by Soul Beat Africa.

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In addition, please join the Malaria Online Network by registering here.



10. Lessons Learned From TB Work with People Living With HIV
To support the work of NGOs, NGO support groups, CBOs, and others involved in working with HIV and TB patients, in 2011 the International AIDS Alliance published this factsheet information about their work on TB and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). The document briefly describes several types of TB/HIV integrated interventions supported by the Alliance. A high-level case study summary is provided, describing a community-based Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) programme undertaken in Bangladesh. Further content includes a list of "Good Practice Programme Standards for TB."

11. Multimedia Communication Campaign on TB and HIV - Kenya
Produced by Mediae, a development-focused media organisation based in Kenya, for the Ministry of Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Kenya, this multi-media communication campaign was designed to promote cross-testing for HIV and TB in Kenya amongst those with TB and/or HIV and their families. The campaign, which was initiated in 2009, used television, radio, text messages, and print to reach its audiences. These audiences included health care workers, as well as HIV and TB patients, their families, and the broader public.

12. Children and Tuberculosis: Exposing a Hidden Epidemic
Published in September 2011 by ACTION (Advocacy to Control TB Internationally), an international partnership of civil society advocates working to mobilise resources to treat and prevent the spread of tuberculosis (TB), this report examines the link between the burden of TB and vulnerable children around the world - those who are malnourished, orphans, or living with HIV. The report is premised on the observation that, because, on average, children are less contagious than adults, they have often been overlooked by national TB programmes, and the rates of TB in children are "grossly under-reported".

13. Time to Act to Save A Million Lives by 2015: Prevent and Treat Tuberculosis Among People Living with HIV
The Stop TB Partnership of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) produced this advocacy brochure, which is designed to explain the relationship between HIV and TB and to advocate steps that should be taken by governments and health care providers to reduce TB-related deaths by one million by the year 2015.

14. Behavior Change Communication and Social Mobilisation Guidelines
By Professor Harry Hausler and Caroline Wills
This guide was produced by Tuberculosis (TB) South Africa in March 2007 to build the capacity of managers to strengthen district and facility level programmes to plan and implement effective TB/HIV social mobilisation strategies. It is intended to be a practical and user-friendly resource to assist those wishing to plan and implement appropriate and effectively managed social mobilisation processes in their communities, focussing on information about how to plan, implement, and evaluate a social mobilisation process to reach communities affected by TB. This process includes establishing goals and objectives, conducting a situation analysis including a stakeholder analysis, establishing partnerships, developing a budgeted plan of activities, mobilising resources for the plan, and monitoring and evaluating the plan.


See also this archived edition of The Soul Beat on Tuberculosis:

The Soul Beat 106 - Tuberculosis

To view ALL past editions of The Soul Beat e-newsletter, click here.

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