17 April 2012 - Johannesburg - Tuberculosis (TB) champion Gerry Elsdon has just completed a gruelling two-week walking campaign across South Africa to raise awareness about TB and encourage people to get tested for the disease.
Elsdon, who is a national TB ambassador in South Africa and a Global TB ambassador for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, started the Hit the Road and Kick TB Walk for Humanity on 23 March.
On the first day of the walk she joined South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Red Cross Society President Nqe Dlamini, fellow TB Ambassador Theo Kgosinkwe, poet and TB survivor Lebo Mashile and other celebrities on a march from the SABC studios in Auckland Park to Johannesburg’s Park Station.
The TV presenter joined South Africa’s official World TB Day event, held at a mine in Carltonville on 24 March, before heading off to visit a total of nine provinces across South Africa. Elsdon walked for up to 10 hours a day, reaching an estimated 3 million South Africans from all walks of life. She visited the homes of patients, schools, TB hospitals and clinics, mines, prisons, schools, taxi ranks, and other areas where people are at risk from TB.
Elsdon, who is herself a TB survivor, said she has no qualms about approaching strangers to speak to them about TB. "I don’t think we should be shy about knocking on people’s doors," she said. Between her long-distance walks, Elsdon travelled between province using minibus taxis. "I wanted to use the transport used by patients and carers," she said. "It was a great way to engage with them."
To find out more, visit the Hit the Road and Kick TB facebook page.