Good Timing Helps Reach the Swazi Public About TB Awareness

Jilly B. Motsa

Communications & KM Officer, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Newspapers count as the second most used media channel in Swaziland, the radio being the first. In designing our media outreach strategy building up to World TB Day (which will be commemorated on March 29 in Mbabane), we decided that publishing educational articles in one of the two major newspapers published in the country would allow us to reach a large audience.

"Basic Facts about TB", published in the Swazi Observer.

In partnership with the National TB Control Program (NTCP), we decided to take advantage of the popular weekend edition of The Swazi Observer, to publish a series of TB articles in the weeks building up to World TB Day. The series of consisted of four TB articles, which were published weekly in the Sunday Observer. The articles were drafted by the URC team of the USAID ASSIST Project in collaboration with the NTCP.

Highlights from this activity were that instead of publishing four TB articles, five articles were released in the newspaper. The topics of the articles were: Basic Facts About TB, Multi-Drug Resistant TB, Childhood TB, World TB Day: Reaching the 3 million, and Why Swaziland Still has High TB Infections.  You can view all five TB articles on our Tumblr page.

A lucky coincidence helped us increase the reach of one of the articles.  The country recently celebrated the wedding of the Prime Minister, Dr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini. The paper featuring the wedding pictures became a hot item, and because of that, various outlets around Mbabane quickly sold out of the edition. This worked to our advantage, because on that week the article published was on “Childhood TB”, a topic normally ignored by many.

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