asphile post imageAsiphile e St James hosted an interfaith World TB Event involving faith leaders from the  Anglican , UCC , Methodist and Catholic Churches. One hundred and eleven adults and 96 children participated.  Fifty two people were screened for TB, and 46 tested for HIV.

Rev Fr Nzama opened with a prayer and welcomed the attendees .The word of God was read from the book of  Matthew 5: 13 by Rev Dludla and the emphasis was the salt, its whitenes , preservative qualities, flavour and purity.

Local clinic : Sr Tsekiso from the local clinic informed  the attendees about the services available on site for the TB day, namely TB screening ,HIV Counselling and testing and vital signs checking. She mentioned that TB is curable and everyone should know their status. Pregnant women to visit the clinic before 14 weeks to exclude HIV or start to manage the mother if positive to prevent mother to child transmission.

TB Association : Mr Tobias Mkhize from TB Association  gave information that TB not only affects the lungs but can affect other organs, for example spine, brain, abdomen etc. He mentioned that it is sad that a person can be infected with multiple drug resistant strain the first time he /she  contracts TB if exposed to it. People should take every cough seriously and go for TB testing. Adherence to TB medication is important, only 6 months. But failure to comply may lead to MDR or XDR which is costly to treat and may even lead to death which should be prevented.

Guest speaker: Rev Mdabe talked about importance of prevention rather treatment and that there should be more TB awareness and screening.  People were told about the signs and symptoms of TB and the link between TB and HIV. He said he was pleased to see people from different religions together, the same should apply to those infected with HIV/AIDS. But it is very unfortunate that these people are discriminated  against once they disclose their status to the public. Talking about HIV at home, schools and church,  instilling the information in the minds of the youth about HIV at a very young age might help in prevention of new HIV infections.

At the end of the programme the attendees went for screening and testing for TB and HIV. The orphans from the organisation provided entertainment, namely traditional dancing, township dancing. The attendees were all provided with a meal and juice.

In what way did the event link with the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS/TB of South Africa

v Zero new infections from Mother to child transmission —Sr Tsekiso gave information on the importance of early Ante natal clinic attendance.

v Zero new HIV/TB infections —People were screened for TB and tested for HIV

v Zero Discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS  —Rev Mdabe spoke on not being discriminatory

v Zero preventable deaths from HIV/TB  —Tobias Mkhize emphasized that people do not need to die from TB related causes.

What was striking about having this interfaith event ?

It was the respect  shown by the people of different faiths and the respect they showed to one another .People mixed very well and there was no sign of discrimination or tension noticed .The health care workers were encouraged to be like like salt and bring Godly flavour in whatever they do . Salt is pure white and the health care workers should bring this whiteness and purity into the lives of the sick. They were also thanked for volunteering in the community which can only be done by dedicated people. Attendees said that such  events should be encouraged as they promote unity and tolerance