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TB Beauty Pageant Raises Awareness

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Mr and Miss TB Stigma Free, Mashaba Baagi, and Gape Mongalo
Talented TB patients from different health posts in Gaborone and surrounding areas gave the judges a hard time after displaying their beautiful performances and brilliantly answering the questions they were asked.

The contestants took part at Mr and Miss Stigma Free beauty pageant held at Paddock Conference Centre organised by the greater Gaborone District Health Management team on Friday to raise awareness on TB and the impact of stigma on patients. Even though the competition was tough as all the contestants outdid themselves in order to win the titles, Mashaba Baagi whose stage name was Chris Brown and Gape Mongalo won the Mr and Miss titles respectively.

Baagi who is a Glen Valley clinic patient told the judges that for a person to avoid contracting TB he or she should avoid sitting in crowded places and always open windows and doors to allow air circulation that could kill TB germs. He further stated that giving TB patients treatment in their homes was helpful as the caregivers could monitor patients well and ensure that they take treatment well on time.

“TB patients are just like you and me. However, you will know that you have TB when you have the following symptoms, loss of weight and appetite. If I am to be crowned Mr TB Stigma Free 2016 I would teach people that TB could be healed if one takes treatment and that having this disease does not mark the end of life. There is still life after TB,” he said confidently.

For her part, Mongalo said giving the patients treatment at home reduced costs and loss of time. She added that for a patient to stop spreading the TB virus to others, he or she must sneeze or cough with their arms covering the mouth and

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nose. She added that signs and symptoms of the disease were night sweats and drastic weight loss.

“If I am crowned Miss TB Stigma Free today I would advocate for TB patients on their right to live and get treatment as living with TB does not mark the end of life. TB can be healed when the treatment is taken accordingly,” she said.

Goabaone Obeilwe from Mogoditshane clinic and Lekgabile Kedimotse from Gabane Clinic grabbed the first prince and princess titles respectively. On the other hand, Utlwang Tokiso from Glen Valley got the second prince while Ophadile Megano from Gabane clinic scooped the second princess title.

However, most of the top five finalists had similar answers saying the symptoms of TB were continuous cough for three or many weeks whilst in other cases a patient could cough blood. They said it was imperative for patients to eat healthy food as advised by their doctors and take treatment accordingly.

Other contestants were Cathrine Motsomatshukudu from Bontleng clinic, Evelyn Tshosa from Gabane Health post, Onalenna Gaopalelwe of Sebele clinic, Collie Sebolaaphuti of BH3 clinic, Karabo Rammolai of Gabane Health post, Osegofetse Ntwayagae of BH3, Tshepiso Kgatwane of Gabane clinic, Lesole Gabanthate of Bontleng clinic and Amogelang Malgas of Gaborone West clinic. In the first parade, the contestants were wearing clothes that depicted different roles and professions in the society showing that anyone could get TB irrespective of his or her social status, race, tribe, education al level, social status or profession.

Sebele and Mmokolodi drama groups entertained the audience with some songs that spread messages about TB.



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