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URC Programs Recognize World TB Day
World TB Day, held annually on March 24, marks the anniversary of the discovery of the cause of tuberculosis (TB), a contagious lung disease. In the 130 years since this breakthrough, TB has changed from a disease affecting urban populations all over the world to one that predominantly affects young adults and those with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
University Research Co., LLC (URC) partners with national TB programs in several countries to find new ways to overcome TB. Along with local groups, URC works to develop systems to reach all people with TB, including those with co-infected with HIV and those with drug-resistant TB.
URC manages the TB CARE II project, one of the main global mechanisms for implementing the TB strategy for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and contributing to TB and HIV activities under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
This year's World TB Day theme is "Stop TB in Our Lifetime." URC programs commemorated the day in creative and inspiring ways.
The USAID-funded Georgia TB Prevention Project and students from Tbilisi State Medical University took part in a procession to call attention to children with TB, a group long neglected by TB programs. More than 50 participants walked from the Tbilisi Music Hall to Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi on March 23rd.
In addition, students wearing T-shirts and caps to raise awareness about the threat of TB and multidrug-resistant TB distributed fliers and arranged photo exhibits at universities. Students also created a "live chain" spelling TB in front of Georgia's Parliament building (see photo to the right).
Lastly, a March 24 TB conference convened more than 70 participants, including staff of the Ministry of Labor Health and Social Affairs and representatives from national agencies, members of professional medical organizations, and students.
The USAID Health Care Improvement Project in South Africa and South Africa TB Program contributed to "Hit the Road & Kick TB" events in partnership with the Department of Health, the Red Cross, Adidas, Southern Sun Hotels, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and Avon. The events included a Walk for Humanity, which honored caregivers and volunteers who visit people with TB in their communities, providing support during treatment.
Many people, particularly those in remote areas, must travel long distances, miss work, and lose income for a TB diagnosis and/or treatment. Some forego these services, impairing their health and contributing to TB's spread. By visiting them in their homes, caregivers and volunteers can dispense life-saving TB medications with little or no disruption to the lives of people with TB.
In Nam Dinh province, URC's Improving TB Detection and TB-HIV Services Integration Project collaborated with the Vietnam National Hospital for Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases to create displays to raise awareness on TB and arranged talks with workers and managers from two garment companies that are major employers in the region.
Read more about URC's work in TB here.