17.3.4 Information, education and communication (IEC)
The aim of communication is to increase awareness of the community regarding basic information about tuberculosis. By giving adequate information about this disease and raising levels of community awareness you can influence what is socially normal and acceptable. This has an impact on TB control; it also changes behaviour in both individuals and groups of people. It is a good idea to involve previously treated and cured TB patients in what you do — they can help improve communication and counselling between people with TB, their families and providers.
Do all you can to ensure that the community you are part of is well-educated about TB infection, prevention and control. Patients should understand that they should know their HIV status, that they may be eligible for isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) and have a right to rapid TB diagnosis and treatment. They should know that TB can be spread by coughing and they should be encouraged to adopt good coughing manners. IEC campaigns should include messages such as ‘Our community is TB-safe’ or ‘Our health facilities are stopping TB’, which will help create a positive and forward-looking attitude in your community that you will have helped to establish.