‘Health buddy’ Sabine Jaulim is working in her local community to raise awareness of TB and battle stigma and myths surrounding the illness.
Sabine is one of a ten-strong team of health buddies, which the Redbridge Council for Voluntary Services has developed in partnership with TB Alert.
The health buddies speak a range of community languages like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Arabic. They conduct TB awareness sessions in groups as well as one-to-one at various venues including community groups, libraries, mosques, temples and churches.
Sabine is originally from Mauritius, and speaks English, French, Creole and some Urdu. “I enjoy meeting new people, so I thought that being a health buddy would be an ideal way to use my people skills, while delivering an important health message,” she says. After training by TB Alert, Sabine started running awareness sessions in her community.
“One of the biggest challenges is convincing people that the myths about TB simply aren’t true,” she says. “People really believe you can catch TB through spitting or sharing cutlery. Also, they don’t realise that TB is curable or that treatment is free for everyone. But it’s very rewarding to think that because of the work I’ve done, someone may go along to their GP and get tested for TB, possibly saving their life,” she says.
So far, the Health Buddies have reached out to more than 1500 local residents through one-to-one and group sessions. In addition many more people have received messages on TB signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment through mediums like newsletters for the voluntary groups, local newspapers and community radio.
Download the Redbridge TB Awareness Pilot report