Stop TB Partnership

Towards a TB free Swaziland: Cabinet Minister and his community constituency soccer teams in action

12 June 2015 - Swaziland - In an effort to contribute to intensified TB case finding targets of the National TB Strategy (2015-2019) whose main objective is To detect and enrol 40,000 TB cases cumulatively on treatment from 2015 to 2019, SAfAIDS and a cabinet Minister for Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, organised a soccer tournament that was preceded by a dialogue on TB on 15 May. This was an innovative way of reaching out to soccer stars with information and services on TB as well as updating them on the Global Fund Processes on the joint TB and HIV concept note development.

According to the National TB and Control Programme (NTCP) about 80% of TB infected people were found to be co-infected with HIV (National TB Programme report 2012). Against this background, SAfAIDS successfully conducted a TB dialogue at Ndunayithini Chiefdom situated in the Shiselweni region of Swaziland. The event was a zonal soccer league event for this Chiefdom. SAfAIDS had on the day organised National TB Control Programme (NTCP) to conduct TB screening, and Populations Service International (PSI) to conduct Testing and counselling (HTC) to provide men’s health talks and services e.g. STI screening and treatment. About 109 (87 males and 12 females) people were registered as attendants; they comprised of both the soccer players (including the league committee members) and spectators. Of the total number of people who attended, 35 (26 males, 9 females; 3 (2 males and 1 female) suspects and were referred to JCI clinic) accessed TB screening and (40 people) accessed HTC services. The participants were also briefed on where the country is in terms of the joint TB and HIV proposal submitted to Global Fund.

The Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Hon. David Cruiser Ngcamphalala who is also a member of parliament of the Ndunayithini Chiefdom, when asked about the event, he keenly mentioned that, translated, "as a member of parliament my best interest at heart is the health of the people I serve especially the youth, thus I will continue to facilitate that health services and information are brought closer to my people." He applauded SAfAIDS for conducting the dialogue and the partners who provided onsite services for the soccer stars and further requested that they should not cease coming to his community since it is wide with many people in order to reach out to those who had not attended notwithstanding the impressive attendance during the day.

During the event, Simon Dlamini was identified as a former HIV and TB co-infected patient. When interviewed he gladly uttered, translated "I used to be co-infected with HIV and TB and I managed to be successfully treated for TB and now I am continuing with my ARVs".