The Eastern Cape Department of Education in partnership with the Eastern Cape Aids Council, Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, Eastern Cape Department of Health and Development Partners held a 2023 World TB Day Campaign.
The WTB Day was determined by the National Department of Health on 24 March 2023, every year it is observed, therefore all Provinces were mandated to hold their TB Day campaigns hence the EC province did it today at the Mngazi Location, Mgwenyana Administrative Area, OR Tambo Coastal Education District.
The national theme was: YES! YOU AND I CAN END TB with the objective to improve the TB outcomes in the EC province through a six-week campaign targeting the hotspot sub-distritcs and fast tracking the implementation of the TB recovery plan as well as contributing to consultations with the communities on the idea of rationalization of the TB hospitals.
Speaking on behalf of the ECDoE, School Health Safety and Learner Enrichment Chief Education Specialist Phumezo Mhletywa said, "As we are in the 21st century, we should not be experiencing death of citizens, including learners & children, due to illnesses like TB, HIV/AIDS, STI plus COVID-19. This if not talked about through observing these national health days like TB days so that more citizens could be saved If diagnosed early, it is curable."
Additionally Mhletywa said; "Each school should be a Care & Support school for Teaching and Learning, Each school should prioritize school health matters by ensuring that their learners are screened, identified, assessed, and supported for any barriers to learning & teaching, therefore, School Managers and Governance must ensure that all hindrances, to get learners pass as expected, are addressed immediately."
"However, there is no reason why when schools are next to health centres or clinics but have sick learners, some schools have Learner Support Agents who should be helping learners who experience challenges in schools, therefore, Education Department must add health awareness days in their year plans to address whichever common sickness in the area," Added Mhletywa.
EC Health Department Hon MEC Nomakhosazana Meth, she said; "Today I am honored to stand here on behalf of the EC Premier Oscar Mabuyane to commemorate the 2023 World TB Day under the theme "You and I can end TB." This is a very good collaboration from the Departments inorder to end HIV and TB stigma in the province."
"I therefore encourage Departments and Partners to continuing working together on these awarness programmes for greater impact and support in our communities" concluded Meth.
Also given a platform the Positive Women's Network (PWN) and the Chairperson of the Civil Society Forum (CSF) at District level digital Noluvuyo Rasmeni, TB survivor.
Noluvuyo said "I was diagnosed with Pulmonary TB in March 2006, I had no hope that I will survive, I even lost blood, I was pale and I had to refill 50 % of blood, so I was instructed by Doctors to take treatment for 6 months, therefore i can highly say TB can be curable and preventable unless you take treatment on a daily basis and making sure that you finished the course."
'This was a good programme by the joint departments I therefore hope for continuity and the department to visit our support groups as people need to be capacitated about symtopms and how to take treatment'. Added Noluvuyo.
Giving vote of thanks on behalf of the Learners was, Sibusisiwe Mgcotyelwa (12) female Grade 7 Learners from Mngazi J.S.S, she said "Today was one of the best days of my life given a platrorm to stand in front of the Provincial MEC's, Mayor's and present Officials from various Education Departments in this small rural area of Port St Johns, Therefore on behalf of the Learners I can say that we have learned alot and will implement what we have learned to stay healthy."