Following the success of the joint two-year campaign “Stop TB in my lifetime”, the UNO Baku - Department of Public Information (UN DPI) office and the US Alumni Outreach Program once again teamed up and conducted an event in Lankaran, in the southern region of Azerbaijan, on 17 March 2013. The session aimed at raising teenage awareness about the consequences of tuberculosis and it presented the efforts taken by the United Nations to prevent and cure this disease.
Bilgeyis Najafova from the UN DPI team stated that the purpose of this event is to observe the upcoming World Tuberculosis Day, and that it is conducted as part of a larger DPI campaign, which was launched earlier this year in promotion of a healthy, disease-preventative lifestyle. “At a time when partners are calling for zero TB deaths, we need to make a stronger statement that the world’s failure to stop deaths from TB is an outrage. Each individual can do his or her part to advocate for increased commitment, visibility and funding for TB care and research,” said Ms. Najafova in her opening speech at the event.
The event was followed by a short documentary on the history of World Tuberculosis Day, briefly presenting the first diagnosis of the disease in 1882 by a German scientist, Robert Koch. To impart further knowledge on teenagers regarding this issue, the guests gave their audience a broad definition of tuberculosis, enlightening them on the epidemiology of the disease and on prevention methods.
“We appreciate the measures taken by the US AOP and the UN DPI against tuberculosis in our society,” said Nermin Kyazimova, coordinator at the local American Center.
Also presented was a video about the experience of a girl who was diagnosed with TB, entitled Christina’s Story. Throughout the video, young activists are shown being introduced to a former tuberculosis patient, who talks about her bitter memories of being diagnosed with TB, her months of subsequent treatment, and her post-TB life.
“To see a personal example showing insights of this dreadful illness is very harsh, but helps people realize the outcomes of the disease. I will make sure that further actions of raising awareness are undertaken, because not many people know how crucial their unhealthy lifestyle is,” states Dunya Bayramova, a high school student
“It is very helpful to learn so many things about the TB disease, such as the fact that people with weakened immune systems have a much greater risk of getting it, or the fact that about one third of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria. I hope that the campaign will continue to involve scholars in the fight against TB and promote healthy lifestyle,” states a member of AAA (American Alumni Association), Suleyman Huseynzade, during the presentation. “Tuberculosis mostly strikes at a young age, and therefore we are focusing particularly on young people.”