Union media mentorship raises profile of TB in Zimbabwe

The Union Zimbabwe Office in partnership with the National Tuberculosis Control Programme has just concluded a media mentorship programme in Zimbabwe to increase press coverage of tuberculosis (TB) and thereby increase public awareness and understanding of the disease.

Eight health journalists from print and broadcast media took part in the six-month programme, with the aim to produce 40 stories on TB over its course.

The programme included workshops to further the journalists’ understanding of TB diagnosis, treatment and advancements and also to encourage conversation between the public health sector and the press. As part of the course journalists were linked up with medical experts and TB programme implementers.

As a result of the programme, journalist mentees produced over 70 articles and broadcasts on childhood TB, TB-HIV, TB-diabetes, drug resistance, TB in mines, political commitment and community efforts in the fight against TB, and patients’ personal experiences.

It is hoped that this increase in media collaboration will give communities a louder and more influential voice to call for positive health-seeking behaviours, patient-centred care and the opportunity to actively participate in TB interventions.

The mentorship programme was delivered as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s Challenge TB programme. Following the success of the first cycle, The Union Zimbabwe Office will continue to run journalist mentorship programmes under the Challenge TB grant.

A selection of articles published through the mentorship programme have been showcased in a special issue of the National Tuberculosis Control Programme’s magazine and distributed to stakeholders. (PDF 5MB)