26 January 2011 - Gugulethu, South Africa - Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave a rousing speech to 650 pupils at the Andile Primary School in Gugulethu today at a Kick TB Activation. "Are you coughing?" he asked and was answered with a resounding no. "Have lost weight? Are you perspiring at night?" No again.
"No TB! Wonderful! We want to keep it that way!" Tutu said.
Today's event was part of a primary school-based campaign that focuses on teaching children aged 5 to 13 about TB. The events combine music, football, dance and a lively rally. The aim is to inspire children to spread the word to the friends and families, helping to prevent TB, recognize its symptoms and inspire people to seek TB treatment. More than 100 000 South African children are expected to be reached by the campaign, with special emphasis on schools in the 18 priority districts identified by the Department of Health for accelerated interventions and TB hotspots such as schools in mining areas and those near hostels.
The pupils' excitement overflowed when Archbishop Tutu kicked a soccer ball at a goal post. Professor Russel Botman, Rector of Stellenbosch University, Dr Alberta Mayberry, US Consul General and Mr David Mametja, Chief Director of TB Control at South Africa's National Department of Health joined the play, demonstrating how TB symptoms must be 'kicked' out of Gugulethu. Also present were 40 European journalists invited to South Africa on a media tour by the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership.
The Kick TB programme's partners include USAID, the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the TB/HIV Care Association, the Aurum Institute, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Desmond Tutu Center, Stellenbosch University, the Department of Health of the Republic of South African, the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, That's It, and TBFREE.