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USAID TBLON Introduces Innovative Inter-Schools Music Competition for World TB Day 2024

In anticipation of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24th, the USAID Tuberculosis Local Organizations Network (TBLON) is set to launch a unique initiative—the 2024 Inter-Schools Music Competition. Hachintu Makomo, the Community Coordinator at TBLON, revealed the concept note for this groundbreaking event aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing communities in the fight against TB.

World TB Day serves as an annual platform to address the health, social, and economic consequences of TB globally. Recognizing the need to intensify efforts to combat the TB epidemic, TBLON, in collaboration with the National TB and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) and the Ministry of Education (MoE), conducted the first-ever national inter-school competition in 2023. This initiative utilized school debates and quizzes to engage adolescents as TB advocates and ambassadors.

Building on the success of the inaugural event, the 2024 competition will focus on using music as a powerful tool in the fight against TB. Schools from all ten provinces in Zambia will participate at the district, provincial, and national levels. 

The competition aligns with the Ministry of Health’s mission, through the NTLP, to accelerate the TB response and achieve global targets for TB elimination by 2030.

Ms. Makomo emphasized that using schools as a platform allows for a fun and competitive approach to discussing TB, promoting community awareness and involvement. The competition aims to challenge myths, mobilize communities, and serve as a tool for TB advocacy.

The primary objective is to increase community awareness of TB, with secondary goals including encouraging school-level participation in TB awareness and health literacy, informing the community about available TB services, and reducing stigma and discrimination related to TB.

To ensure a comprehensive and valuable learning experience, the competition will utilize the 3E Framework—Education, Experience, and Exposure. Educational materials on TB will be provided to learners, covering various topics such as symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and combating stigma.

Beyond education, students progressing in the competition will have the opportunity to meet TB survivors or champions, gaining firsthand insights into the experiences of those affected by TB. The competition will recognize and reward schools at different levels, with rewards including visits to local chest clinics and guidance from renowned musicians.

The competition will involve schools from all ten provinces, with a structured format including pre-qualifiers, district, provincial, and national levels. An online voting system, utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook, Tik-Tok, Twitter, and Instagram, will determine the progression of schools through the competition.

The finale, live-streamed to a global audience, will see the top three schools competing for the coveted positions. Community radio stations across the country will also join the campaign by hosting talk shows, Q&A competitions, and playing the winning songs.

The winning song, selected as the official theme song for ending TB, will be produced, with rights given to the NTLP. The top schools will be recognized and awarded during the main World TB Day event, showcasing their winning songs and contributing to the global effort to eradicate TB.

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