Cape Town - Residents and health-care workers joined hands to paint a mural at the Scottsdene Community Day Clinic (CDC) to encourage community support in the fight against tuberculosis.
Every year, at least 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis (TB), according to the World Health Organization.
While TB is curable, people living with TB and TB survivors may experience stigma and discrimination on their journey to recovery.
To tackle the stigma and support patients and health-care workers fighting the disease, the TB: The Heart of the Matter Community Engagement Project was launched by Stellenbosch University’s Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics and rolled out at two Western Cape Health and Wellness facilities, including the Scottsdene CDC and Kraaifontein Community Health Centre.
Other facilities that benefited from the project include Adriaanse Clinic in Elsies River and Wallacedene Clinic in Kraaifontein.
A large 8-piece paint-by-numbers mural, designed by artist Mernette Swartz, was installed at the Scottsdene CDC.
The artwork depicts a person standing on the top of a mountain holding a flag.
Dannielle Kenny, SU’s Molecular Biology and Human Genetics communications and marketing officer, says this imagery symbolises the rocky road TB patients may face during their treatment journey and the reassurance that they will reach their destination where they will be TB free.
“The group of people on either side of this individual reaching out to one another signifies the importance of social support throughout the TB journey and that the voyage is made easier when friends, family and communities stand in solidarity to assist and encourage each other along the way,” Kenny said.
Scottsdene CDC facility manager, nursing sister Tresia Matlali, thanked the university and all health-care workers for supporting community members who have TB.
“This project is important not only for our facility but for our community. It brings across a message that is needed not only for our TB patients but all who visit Scottsdene CDC, and this message is that there is hope for all. We can take on TB together. There are many clients who test positive for TB and struggle to accept that they have TB. My hope is that through our various support programmes and the art, that we can inspire our staff and patients fighting TB.”
Residents have been encouraged to access free TB testing and treatment at their nearest clinic.
Residents can also screen themselves for TB by following the steps below:
Save the number 0600 123 456 as a contact ‘NDoH’ on WhatsApp.
Send the word “TB” to the WhatsApp number and follow the prompts to complete the TB HealthCheck.
Once you have completed the TB HealthCheck, you will receive guidance on what to do next based on your level of risk.
If you experience any TB symptoms, visit your nearest health facility. If you were on treatment for TB but did not take your medication, you can go to your nearest clinic immediately for help to continue treatment.