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USAID Tuberculosis South Africa Project builds partnerships with community radio stations to increase public awareness of tuberculosis in South Africa

Date: 
11 Jul 2019

The USAID Tuberculosis South Africa Project is able to reach many people using community radio to share tuberculosis (TB) information with local communities highly affected by the disease. Since the project was launched in 2016, TB information has been disseminated on 24 community radio stations in 20 districts in all nine provinces of South Africa.

Project staff members have participated in over 100 interviews on community radio, many of which included call-in sessions for audiences, and over 22.9 million people have been reached through these interviews.

Dolly Mobela (right), USAID TB South Africa Project Programme Manager for Limpopo province is a regular on Zebediela Community Radio 93.1 FM, where she shares topical information about TB to increase public awareness and knowledge
Dolly Mobela (right), USAID TB South Africa Project Programme Manager for Limpopo province
is a regular on
Zebediela Community Radio 93.1 FM, where she shares topical information about
TB to increase public awareness and knowledge

Over the past three years, the project managed to increase provision of district- and community-specific TB information to the public, including information about available TB services and where to find them. Radio interviews are cross-promoted on the project’s website, its interactive We Beat TB South Africa Facebook page and @WeBeatTB Twitter handle to increase the reach of information shared.    

Through broadcast messages and radio interviews, community members in targeted communities are now more aware of the scale of the TB epidemic in South Africa. USAID TB South Africa Project hopes that through this intervention, more people are becoming aware of the signs and symptoms of TB, and how the disease is diagnosed and treated. The more people are aware of the TB services available in their communities, the more they will be able and willing to seek care when they are unwell, contributing towards the Government of South Africa’s aim of finding missing TB patients.  

Through this approach, the USAID TB South Africa Project found that radio practitioners are willing to work with reliable and knowledgeable TB technical experts who can provide them with timely and accurate information. In particular, providing community media practitioners with current national and district TB statistics, community-specific practicable content, and speakers during commemorations of international health days like World TB Day, World Diabetes Day, and World AIDS Day helps them to keep their shows relevant, which makes the partnerships mutually beneficial.

Tune in to listen to USAID TB South Africa Project District Coordinator Ina Cillie’s (left) interview on Radio Namakwaland 93.4 FM every first Monday of the month
Tune in to listen to USAID TB South Africa Project District Coordinator Ina Cillie’s (left)
interview on Radio Namakwaland 93.4 FM every first Monday of the month

Increasing the broadcast of accurate TB information to reach millions of people in South Africa through community radio has not only helped the project to share accurate messages, but also helps to curb the spread of TB as more people seek healthcare services to #BeatTB.