Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. TB occurs in every part of the world but Sub-Saharan Africa carries the greatest proportion of new cases per population. Education on the prevention and treatment of TB has proven to be an important element in the fight against the spread of tuberculosis.
As one of Africa’s leading hotel groups, Southern Sun strives to make a difference in the lives of Africans in need. “The estimated number of people falling ill with tuberculosis each year is declining, although very slowly, which means that the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reverse the spread of TB by 2015. This partnership of Southern Sun being the official accommodation sponsor for the campaign reflects Southern Sun hotels’ philosophy that our caring differentiates us - not only amongst guests in our hotels but within the broader community. We are people driven,” says Graham Wood, Managing Director of Southern Sun Hotels.
Southern Sun joined celebrity and TB Ambassador Gerry Elsdon in her quest to mark World TB Day 2012 – 24 March – with action, and not just words. Elsdon, who is also an International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Society Global TB Ambassador, is taking the messages of awareness and testing to communities all over South Africa, in an 18 day campaign called the Hit the Road and Kick TB Walk for Humanity.
The walking campaign kicked off on the 23rd March, when Gerry Elsdon, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Red Cross Society President Nqe Dlamini, fellow TB Ambassador Theo Kgosinkwe, poet and TB survivor Lebo Mashile and other celebrities, supported by the National Department of Health and the USAID TB Project, marched from the SABC studios in Auckland Park to Johannesburg’s Park Station.
The 18 day campaign will bring the message of TB identification and treatment to all nine provinces reaching the most vulnerable in the Southern African society. Gerry will visit the homes of patients, schools, TB hospitals and clinics, mines, prisons, schools, taxi ranks, and other areas and facilities with a prevalence of TB, reaching more than 3-million South Africans.
Gerry and her team will be staying at Southern Sun hotels in Polokwane, Nelspruit, Witbank, Newcastle, Durban, Mthatha, Port Elizabeth, Plettenberg Bay Cape Town, Beaufort West, Kimberley and Bloemfontein whilst educating the nation on TB.