World TB Day Campaign Highlights Awareness to Help End TB

A member of the public poses in a photo frame at the AIS Activity's World TB Day event booth in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

World TB Day, an annual commemoration on March 24th, is a pivotal occasion to spotlight global efforts to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) and foster awareness. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. On World TB Day, various organizations, agencies, and communities come together to educate and raise public awareness about the global impact of TB, the challenges in diagnosis and treatment, and the importance of prevention measures to end TB.

The day before World TB Day, the USAID HIV/TB Agency, Information and Services (AIS) Activity, in collaboration with the Myanmar Anti-TB Association (MATA) and Karen Baptist Convention (KBC), organized in-person events to raise public awareness of TB in local communities and strengthen efforts to end TB.

A diverse crowd of around 300 people gathered at the KBC Hospital in Yangon, Myanmar, to participate in World TB Day activities ranging from health awareness sessions to an interactive “Spin and Win” game.

In a keynote speech, Dr. Kyaw Phyo Naing, Deputy Chief of Party of the AIS Activity, underscored the importance of awareness in combating TB: “TB is curable and also preventable,” he emphasized. “By raising awareness about TB, individuals are more inclined to seek consultation, leading to increased case detection. Treating more cases reduces transmission and prevents the spread to others. I urge everyone to detect symptoms early and seek prompt treatment. Together, we can end TB.”

A member of the public in Yangon, Myanmar, spins the TB wheel to answer a question about TB and win a World TB Day-themed prize. (CPI/AIS)

Central to the event was the colorful TB “spin and win” wheel, offering a fun and interactive way for participants to engage with the topic. Before spinning the wheel, participants attended health awareness sessions where they learned about TB. Afterward, they spun the wheel and answered questions that tested their TB knowledge and reinforced key messages. Winners received prizes with a TB-related message, and TB information pamphlets with a hotline number for free TB diagnoses and links to additional resources.

A TB awareness session held as part of the AIS Activity's World TB Day campaign in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

“I enjoyed playing the ‘spin the wheel’ game,” said participant Wai Lin. “It tested my understanding of TB, and won a prize. It’s a good way to raise awareness. The pamphlet and hotline details are useful. I can share them with others who couldn’t attend the event”

A towel incorporating the TB hotline number offered as a "spin the wheel" prize and a TB information pamphlet. (CPI/AIS)

The impact of the World TB Day campaign extended beyond the event, as photos and messages from the event were shared on the End TB Together Facebook page with hashtags such as #WorldTBDay, #YesWeCanEndTB, and #EndTBTogether.

Children pose with World TB Day messages at the event organized by the AIS Activity in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

The AIS Activity used the occasion of the World TB Day event to offer free TB screenings to participants. All participants underwent an initial assessment for symptoms, and more than 220 were screened using a digital chest X-ray. Fourteen presumptive TB cases were identified and referred to TB centers to receive specialized care. In addition to raising awareness, this initiative offered tangible early TB detection and treatment opportunities.

A World TB Day event participant is screened for TB using a digital chest X-ray at the KBC Hospital in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

An App to Accelerate TB Screening

To address gaps in TB case detection, the AIS Activity promoted an innovative chatbot and hotline service called CareConnect at World TB Day events. Partnering with Population Services International (PSI) and the Shwe Ohh pharmacy (a private commercial pharmacy), 7,000 CareConnect flyers were distributed across Yangon. These flyers featured the CareConnect QR code that connects users to TB screening resources. By scanning the QR code, individuals can connect directly with care providers and facilitate early diagnosis and treatment.

A volunteer demonstrates how to scan the CareConnect QR code and access TB screening at the Shwe Ohh Pharmacy in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

Collaborative Efforts to Raise TB Awareness

The AIS Activity also partnered with Foodpanda, a prominent food and grocery delivery service in Myanmar, to raise TB awareness. Foodpanda’s 600 riders in Yangon distributed around 6,000 TB information pamphlets with their deliveries across the city. The riders also wore sleeves bearing the TB information hotline number. This powerful collaboration expanded the reach of TB messaging on World TB Day.

A Foodpanda rider distributes a TB information pamphlet with a delivery in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)
AIS Activity team members mark World TB Day in Yangon, Myanmar. (CPI/AIS)

In Myanmar, the AIS Activity is implementing programmatic and technical innovations to scale up HIV services, reach 95-95-95 prevention, testing, and treatment objectives, and achieve TB-free Myanmar. The AIS Activity supports efforts to scale up TB services to end TB as a public health threat in Myanmar. Through World TB Day activities, the AIS Activity raised TB awareness and expanded TB screening initiatives, supporting global efforts to end TB.

The USAID HIV/TB Agency, Information and Services (AIS) Activity aims to achieve HIV epidemic control by ensuring 95 percent of people living with HIV in Burma are aware of their status, 95 percent of those identified as positive are on antiretroviral treatment, and 95 percent of those on treatment are virally suppressed. It also aims to achieve a Burma free from TB by reaching every person with TB, curing those in need of treatment, and preventing the spread of disease and new infections. It is funded by PEPFAR and the Global Accelerator to End TB through USAID.