Accra, July 11, GNA - The National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) has intensified its efforts to help reduce the spread of the disease through a new campaign dubbed the 'KICK TB'.
The campaign aims at raising the awareness of Tuberculosis (TB) among children through the use of football events in schools.
Due to its enormous popularity and potential as an attention grabber, football is being used by the 'KICK TB' campaign to promote the cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene, said the NTP Manager, Dr Frank Bonsu, after a two day workshop in Accra.
The workshop, on the theme “making KICK TB Live in Ghana”, follows the launch of the national campaign and the World TB day by the National TB Control Program and the Ghana Health Service in March.
Dr Bonsu said the South African (SA) KICK TB campaign is being replicated in Ghana due to its success adding that a consultant from SA is taking participants from NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, health officials and the Media to discuss the concept as well as brainstorm to adopt appropriate implementation strategies in Ghana.
He said children through the knowledge acquired from the campaign would “serve as communication tools to effect change and at the same time help spread the cough etiquette message”.
Dr Bonsu said one expected outcome amongst others, is that a proportion of school children would have positive attitudes towards TB cases and that more people would report early to clinics should the need arise.
He said the objective of the campaign is to increase TB case detection, increase awareness and knowledge, dispel common myths and misconceptions, promote behavioural changes required to prevent infection and to increase treatment outcomes.
Ms Wena Moelich, SA National Project Manager of KICK TB, appealed to participants to take advantage of every opportunity as South Africa did with the 2010 World cup to push the campaign forward.
She described the programme as her brainchild and that she worked on her dream for a year before the World Cup came to SA saying "you have to take advantage of such a huge international event like The FIFA World Cup."
Ms Moelich said the campaign focused on primary school learners where footballs with appropriate messages were distributed to them in their schools.
She said one of the challenges affecting the management of TB was the stigma attached to the disease and suggested that educating people was the answer to de-stigmatizing.
Ghana, she said, could replicate the South Africa campaign and that monitoring and evaluation was crucial to the program.
According to the WHO global TB report release in 2011, Ghana is among few African countries that have met the world health assembly target of seventy percent TB case detection and eighty-five percent treatment success target.
Ghana's TB incidence and prevalence has reduced almost by fifty percent. However with no interventions in place to address the problem of childhood tuberculosis as there is for adult tuberculosis it was time to put childhood TB on the agenda through the game of football as a communication strategy.