Thu 26 Apr 2012
Georgia experiences a dangerously high level of tuberculosis (TB), despite being a middle income European country. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated Georgia as one of the 27 highest burden multi-drug resistance (MDR) – TB countries with a 9.5% MDR- TB rate among new cases. Many Georgians still lack knowledge and awareness about TB and where to access services.
The main event in Georgia marking World TB Day in 2012 was held in Tbilisi through activities organized by the Georgia Tuberculosis Prevention Project (TPP). The TPP is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its TB implementing partner, University Research Co., LLC (URC).
The TPP led by URC, collaborated with the Tbilisi State Medical University (TSMU) to host a successful World TB Day Conference on March 23, 2012 with over 70 participants from a variety of public and civil society organizations representing the country’s major players in public health. Attendants included representatives from the Ministry of Labor Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA), USAID, National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC&PH) and students from TSMU. These stakeholders discussed future goals and initiatives to raise awareness about TB. The participants agreed that collaborative effort is the critical success factor in the fight against TB.
In preparation for World TB Day, the TPP team developed educational materials such as T-shirts, posters, banners and flyers with information, messages and slogans about tuberculosis (TB) that were disseminated to students and the general public to raise awareness about this curable disease.
The main event on World TB Day in Georgia was an organized march coordinated between the Georgia TPP and students from TSMU. More than 50 people marched from Tbilisi Music Hall to Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi to raise awareness about TB. These students and other participants also wore T-shirts with messages related to the impact of TB and multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB in Georgia and distributed educational materials to pedestrians in the streets.
The Advocacy, Communications, and Social Mobilization (ACSM) Advisor of USAID Georgia TPP, Tsira Chakhaia noted, “pedestrians and passers-by in the streets were eager to receive information on tuberculosis. People of all ages stopped and asked questions about the characteristics and main trends in fighting the disease.”
The students concluded World TB Day by creating a “human chain” to demonstrate their unity against TB in a main park of Tbilisi. Overall, the Georgia TPP collaboration and coordination with TSMU generated popular and positive reactions amongst the public to stop TB in our lifetime, culminating in a successful World TB Day.
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