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CISMAT Sierra Leone Ends National Media Training on TB Reporting

CISMAT Sierra Leone Ends National Media Training on TB Reporting

In a bid to strengthen its relationship with media institutions in the fight to end Tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis (CISMAT-SL) Sierra Leone has ended a one-day National Media Conversation and Training workshop on how to report on TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria related diseases, at the Hill Valley Hotel, Signal Hill in Freetown on the 31st January 2019.

The fruitful National Media Conversation and Training on TB reporting attract the attention of various media practitioners from both the print and the electronics media across the length and breadth of Sierra Leone including other key health experts from the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme (NLTCP) under the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) , SOLTHIS among others.

In his welcome address, the Executive Board Member, Pastor Paul Brima Bangura said CISMAT-SL is made up of sixteen Civil Society Organizations in Sierra Leone with support from the Ministry of health under the NLTCP with funds from the Global Fund to fight TB, AIDS and Malaria.

Pastor Bangura expressed happiness to media institutions for honouring their invitation within the shortest possible time, nothing that CISMAT –SL is very much aware of the import role which media institutions are playing in the fight to end TB by 2030.

He added that CISMAT-SL is very much appreciative of the good work which media institutions have been rendering since the establishment of the movement especially in the area of disseminating useful information to the public on TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria related diseases.

The Board Member continued that CISMAT Sierra Leone has been collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), SOLITHIS -Sierra Leone and other key partners in the fight against TB with Funds from Global Fund.

He said CISMAT-SL will not function effectively or efficiently without the presence and full involvement of journalists, because according to him, it is doing more of advocacy work for TB Patients across the country in order to raise awareness or informed government and its’ donor partners to provide the needed support in all government hospitals in the country.

Presenting on TB Speed Project, SOLTHIS-SL Health Expert, Dr.Lena Matata who is the TB Speed Project Coordinator, SOLTHIS NGO (Therapeutic Solidarity and Initiatives for Health) is an international Non-Governmental Organization with its headquarters in France who are working in Sierra Leone with MOHS and CISMAT in the fight to end TB by 2030.

Dr .Lena noted that TB is a disease caused by germs known as Mycobacterium and that TB is spread when an infected person coughs. She said TB cough contains millions of droplets with the germs that are spread in the air and inhaled by others which she said is sometimes called airborne transmission. She said it spreads most easily when it is in a person’s lungs adding that TB in the lungs is dangerous in many people because it spreads easily from person to person.

The TB Speed Project Coordinator reiterated that the most common symptom is coughing for more than two weeks or more & not responding to other appropriate treatments, fever, night sweats and weight loss are also symptoms of TB.

The SOLTHIS Representative told participants that the best and most valuable vaccine for TB is BCG Vaccine which she said is the first vaccine given to newborn babies. She said the key message for this training is to vaccinate all children against TB with BCG Vaccine soon after birth.

Dr .Lena said the total childhood for TB cases in 2017 is 2073 out of 16,142 total cases whilst she also advice the general public to avoid overcrowding and maintain a well balanced diets for all ages.

“Our aim is to increase the diagnostic treatment for newborn children and reduce the risk of infections.CISMAT is one of our key partners in Sierra Leone,”SOLTHIS TB Speed Project Coordinator revealed.

She said Sierra Leone is one of the 30 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries globally, nothing that SOLTHIS & Partners are working collaboratively with MOHS under NLTCP to ensure identification and diagnosis of all TB cases. She added TB is a disease that takes the energy of a patient.

She concluded by calling on the general public to always go for free TB treatment ,TB Vaccination ,TB Diagnostic test and TB Drugs in all government health facilities across the country.

Giving the background of CISMAT-SL, the Programme Manager, Mr. Mohamed Samura told participants that CISMAT-SL was established long back to monitor TB patients with intensive advocacy network for better services and capacity building programmes for affected victims.

Mr .Samura said Patient-led advocacy rooted in a human rights approach rests at the centre of CISMAT’s mission and has been a key component of their activities since the founding of the organization in 2009.

“Our advocacy is in 4 key areas: patient rights, discrimination/stigma, additional support for TB programs and services, and new policy frameworks on TB issues, particularly regarding drug stock outs at DOT Centers,” Programme Manager noted.

He said over the past ten years they have mobilized over 2,200 current and former TB and TB/HIV Patients adding that they have also participated in various health seminars and that CISMAT has led over 360 meetings with key national and international partners on TB awareness raising campaign.

The Programme Manager also speaks on the Community-Based Monitoring and Feedback which he said has been successful so far and that as part of CISMAT health strengthening approach to TB and TB/HIV, they designed planned and implemented a monitoring program for health services and human rights in all 170 DOTs across Sierra Leone for the past twelve months.

He noted that, CISMAT have mobilized and trained over 170 former TB patients and human rights activists as Community TB Animators (CTAs) across all 14 districts with one District Coordinator overseeing the activities of the CTAs.

He said Community Based Monitoring is a process of documenting good practices ,challenges and lessons learnt to improve service delivery and that it is also known as Watch Dog Monitoring.

He ended by saying that Community Based monitoring to enhance a better Health System to promote Health Equality and accountability.

In his statement, the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM-SL) ,Dr.Lyntton Michael Tucker said CISMAT is in the right direction with the fight against TB nothing that CCMs in the world ,stands for Transparency, Accountability and True Partnerships in the fight against TB,AIDS and Malaria.

He said media is a very critical component to the success of the work done by TB advocacy networks by disseminating messages on TB interventions in the most appropriate and timely manner. While the Representative from the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme also speaks on drugs and supply mechanism.

By Alhassan Bangura

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