The $400,000 (sh1.4b) singer Moses Ssali aka Bebe Cool received from the US for Tuberculosis (TB) eradication in Uganda will be used to raise awareness about the disease to help people to know its dangers.
Bebe Cool said the Amber Heart Foundation will work with the Government, Stop TB Partnership in Geneva and Natural TB and Leprosy Division to ensure that people go for tests.
“This grant is as a result of vigorous application exercise that saw the Amber Heart Foundation triumph over 600 applications from all over the world,” he said.
“While for years I have been undertaking different charity works at my personal expense, it feels great when someone else recognizes my efforts and chips in. It is also a great boost for our health care system,” he added.
Bebe Cool received the money from Stop TB Partnership’s TB Reach Initiative during a ceremony in Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam. The TB Reach Initiative is funded by Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bebe Cool’s Amber Heart Foundation will embark on activities aimed at finding TB patients in the districts of Kampala, Jinja, and Mbarara.
The singer announced on Thursday that he has signed 20 upcoming female musicians to join his foundation in the exercise through their music a move which shocked many people who had attended the ceremony.
“I am also calling on media houses, celebrities and public figures to take part in this great cause,” he said.
When we spoke to people on the street about Bebe Cools plan and strategy, they regarded it as ‘Absurd’
“We expected him to implore the government to improve on TB wards facilitation and not recruiting singers” Mugwanya a resident of Kampala suburb commented
Accompanying Bebe Cool was Dr Paul Isiko, a representative from the Stop TB Partnership, who said TB is one of the leading causes of death in Uganda.
“Uganda has a task of ending TB by 2030,” Isiko said.
“I worked on the trip that led us to New York for a meeting about TB with officials from the Government. Authorities in New York were impressed by Bebe Cool, that is why they decided to fund his foundation in the fight against TB,” he said.
Isiko added his voice to Bebe Cool’s, calling on public figures to join the sensitization drive.
“Statistics show that more men than women are suffering from TB because men fear to go to hospitals for checkups, take a lot of alcohol and smoke,” he said.
Isiko added that society should fight TB stigma because it scares people from going to health centers. TB stigma arises from the public’s association of the disease to HIV/ AIDS. Statistics at the health ministry show that about 42% of HIV-positive patients have TB.
“TB is airborne, therefore, everyone is at risk once they come into contact with an infected person. The treatment takes six months, but resistant TB may take up to 20 months.”
Isiko said. He reminded people that TB treatment is free and asked them to test in case they suspect an infection