Global TB Candlelight Meditation on 27th May

Global TB Candlelight Meditation on 27th May

The Global TB Candlelight Meditation (GTBCM), an initiative of Afro Global Alliance, began in Accra, Ghana, to scale up advocacy, communications and social mobilization campaigns for TB awareness in the world. The GTBCM is held on every 27th of May in remembrance of those who have died of TB. It is led by volunteer advocates who host meditation for their communities worldwide. Chief Austin Arinze Obiefuna, who is the founder-President of Afro Global Alliance and National Coordinator for Stop TB Partnership in Ghana, spoke to this Key Correspondent on this unique and community centric initiative at the Advocacy, Communications and Social Mobilization (ACSM) annual meeting of the Stop TB Partnership before the 40th Union World Conference on Lung Health opens in Cancun, Mexico later this week (3-7 December 2009).

The Global TB Candlelight Meditation (GTBCM) initiative has engaged different stakeholders at all levels, said Chief Austin. The programme has brought together a large number of stakeholders in the past including: Coalition of NGOs, Ghana Stop TB Partnership, TB Network, Ghana HIV/AIDS Network, WHO, National TB Control programme, Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, said Chief Austin.

"The Global TB Candlelight Meditation aims to scale up global awareness through grassroots community involvement of all sectors and stakeholders in the annual GTBCM campaign on every 27th of May" said Chief Austin Arinze Obiefuna.

"The objectives of GTBCM were to honour and remember those lives lost to TB, to support TB patients by de-stigmatising the disease and preventing anti-TB drug resistance, to defend all those who are not infected with TB, to promote DOTS and the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) no. 6, and to support TB-HIV collaborative activities and forge more efforts towards the eradication of TB by 2050" further added Chief Austin.

"Annually the GTBCM selects a new theme which is designed to give the global community a strong commitment in the fight against TB" said Chief Austin. One of the themes of the meditation in past years was "Togetherness will eradicate TB."

"TB-related stigma and discrimination is a very serious issue. It is a barrier for suspected TB patients to seek existing TB-care services. What we have been advocating is to diagnose TB early and treat successfully and unless we address stigma and discrimination of those seeking TB care in healthcare facilities and in communities, it is difficult to improve TB responses" said Austin.

The Global TB Candlelight Meditation is one such initiative that engages communities and reduces stigma and discrimination related to TB in healthcare facilities and communities as well.

Published in:
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