Individual Foundation and Kaugere clinical staff talked on general TB awareness and risks, protection and prevention, treatment and care, medication adherence, drug resistance, and importantly, stigma and discrimination associated with TB.
The Foundation’s Senior Accountant Ivy Frank, who is a long-time resident of Gabutu took the lead in organizing the event with Kaugere Clinic staff, local church leaders and the surrounding community.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to take back to my community the safe, healthy habits that I’m exposed to daily at my work place even though I work in the finance section,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Oil Search Foundation Kymberley Kepore said the Foundation wants to take the message on TB prevention, treatment and support to people who are most at risk of TB infection.
“For this year’s World TB Day, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to capture the enthusiasm of our staff who would not normally be involved in delivering health messages, so we engaged with our finance, admin and security staff to see who was interested in bringing awareness back to their own communities.”
Staff response was overwhelming and after meeting to discuss the options, Ivy’s location was selected.
The program started at 9am finishing at 11am.
“Part of doing initiatives like this as a not-for-profit development organization, is to try to help create a culture where we begin to empower our employees to become champions for change in their communities, with the exposure they have to our work programs,” says Kymberley.
Another important focus of the awareness will be tackling the issue of stigma and discrimination and raising the conversations about the right kind of individual, family and community reaction and support that is needed.
Kaugere Clinic Officer in Charge Janet Pongone said: “It’s unfortunate that most often TB patients face the real threat of being shunned and neglected as a result of the fear that families and communities have when faced with TB.
“It’s usually brought about by a lack of awareness and knowledge in general and that’s a mindset we need to change as part of the overall battle against the burden of TB in PNG.”