Guide to working with national champions launched today

16 November 2012 - Kuala Lumpur - Today marked the launch of a guide to working with national celebrities on the occasion of the World Union Conference on Lung Health.

The handbook, A practical guide to collaborative partnerships with celebrities, co-produced by the Stop TB Partnership and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, provides Stop TB Partners with guidance on how to engage celebrities and benefit from their support. The targeted audience is mainly public health professionals who would like to expand their knowledge for engaging celebrities and managing high profile events. The objective is to share the experience gained while working with current Goodwill Ambassadors and Champions against tuberculosis.

"I believe TB has developed a much stronger voice and become more relevant in the minds of decision makers, but we still have some way to go. At the country level networks of champions can make a difference. I hope that this handbook - the only one of this type, sharing the collective knowledge and experiences of TB champions - is a valuable resource for countries looking to do just that," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership.

"It's not easy to reach everyone who is affected by TB," Ms Ismail added. "But by using the popularity of public figures you can really get to the hearts of people. Armed with the right messages, celebrities can be a powerful weapon in the fight against TB and a positive force for all of humanity. This handbook is an incentive for us ambassadors and champions do more, and to collaborate with others. It serves as a first step for collaboration between national TB programmes and celebrities. I hope that both groups can take strong steps to join together."

In addition to Dr Ditiu, speakers at today's launch event included Awad Ibrahim Awad, A TV presenter who serves as Sudan's national TB champion; Ms Rania Ismail, performer and Jordan's national TB champion; Lucy Achieng, of Nagoke Youth, Uganda; Mr Alberto Colorado, aTB Activist from the United States; Mr Hou Fengzhong, of the Chinese Red Cross; and Dr Karam Shah, a medical officer in the World Health Organization Afghanistan country office. Dr Lasha Goguadze, a senior health officer at the IFRC, served as moderator.

Click here to access the new handbook.