India is using teenage educators to teach their peers about the dangers of Tuberculosis or TB, a highly-infectious disease that attacks millions of people worldwide each year.
Children International and Lilly MDR TBÂ PartnershipÂ have a public awareness campaign that is aimed to permanently wipe out TB in India. They are just beginning their second year of the campaign, which is supported by local government.
Teenagers have been trained to become Youth Peer Educators. They then use the mediums of street theater, school presentations and discussion,Â health education techniques, and one-on-one counselling.
These teenaged teachers teach their local communities how important it is to stay free from Tuberculosis. And if a person is actually diagnosed with TB, they explain why it is vital that person completes their course of antibiotics, so the germ can be killed and so they cannot pass it on to others.
The anti-TB education campaign will focus on two neighborhoods inÂ Kolkata, India,Â that have had a high number of TB cases. There are about 800 people living in these in these two densely-packed neighborhoods.
And in Narkeldanga and Jorasanko, these slum areas have large numbers of people living in them under harsh conditions,Â with an average family household of five people. The places they have to live together in are only 50-100 square feet.Â And there is no proper ventilation, which increases the transmission rate of the infectious bacteria.
In the first year of the program,Â West BengalÂ had an 84.1 percent success rate, which is lower than the national average for India. Around seven percent of patients did not complete the TB treatment.
There are 50,000 new cases of TB every year and the number of registered TB patients in West BengalÂ is more than 100,000 people. Twenty-nine teen teachers trained by Children International reached over 1,500 people with their message about TB and its dangers.