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Health

Miss South Africa 2018 Is on a Mission to Put an End to Tuberculosis


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Ending tuberculosis is one of the targets explicitly outlined in the UN Global Goal for health, alongside ending AIDS, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases. TB is one of the world's most deadly infectious diseases, killing more people than AIDS and malaria combined. Efforts from people like Tamaryn Green to raise awareness about the disease, and end the stigma surrounding it, are vital in the fight. You can join us by taking action here to suppor the Global Goals. 

Miss South Africa 2018, Tamaryn Green, has launched a #BreakTheStigma campaign, aiming to tackle the taboo that still surrounds tuberculosis and help end the epidemic by 2035.  

One of her responsibilities as the Miss South Africa titleholder is running a campaign that will help with creating a better nation. And, having been diagnosed with TB herself in 2015, it’s an issue that is particularly close to home. 

Green’s campaign is running in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the South African department of health. 

Take action: Call on the South African National Department of Health to Tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases

As a medical student at the University of Cape Town, Green hopes to help support people living with TB to have the courage to publicly talk about their disease, to educate those around them, and to strip away the stigma. 

She will be attending national and international meetings to share her story, which took her three years to build up the courage to speak out about. 

“The whole story was more traumatic than I ever allowed myself to admit,” she told the Daily Sun. “It not only affected me but also my immediate family and close friends.” 

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“It took me three years to talk about my story,” she continued. “I could have avoided a lot of trauma speaking about it sooner. I am now in the process of dealing with it, I want to encourage people not to be afraid to speak out about their problems and get the help they need.”

Reflecting on her journey, Green said that engaging with the disease and educating people about it is the “only way we are going to beat it.”

As well as the stigma, there is a lot of misinformation about TB. It includes the idea that TB is a family curse; or is caused by drugs, poverty, homelessness, being in prison, or having a refugee status. 

South Africa has one of the highest burdens of TB in the world. According to the WHO, in 2015, there were an estimated 454,000 cases of active TB in the country — leading to about 25,000 deaths. 

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TB continues to be the leading cause of death in South Africa, according to the WHO, and, with such concerning numbers, it’s essential to note that this isn’t a health crisis that only affects South Africa — but the world at large. 

TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2016, there were 6.3 million cases of TB around the world, and it killed some 1.7 million people — more than HIV and malaria combined. 

The launch of the campaign comes at a time when the global spotlight is being cast on TB. 

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The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) — which brings together world leaders in New York in September — will include a high-level meeting on TB at which governments and heads of state will commit to ending TB in their countries. 

Ending the TB epidemic is also included among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals

As Miss South Africa says, uniting the world to confront and fight this deadly and infectious disease is the only way to eliminate it completely. 


The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.

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