Music to help TB

A Wigtown acupuncturist who co-founded a charity to help people in Africa suffering from TB is calling Gallovidians to support a local fundraising concert.

Jenny Craig is co-founder of Moxafrica, established in 2009, and in particular she is investigating the use of a traditional therapy, moxa, that was used in Japan to treat TB before antibiotics were developed. Moxa is a herbal substance made from the leaves of mugwort plants. It is used by acupuncturists across the world to help with many health conditions is thought to have beneficial effects on the immune system.

These days it is relatively unusual to hear of people catching TB, although the disease is creeping back into this country. In many parts of the world however, particularly in Africa, the TB epidemic has reached devastating proportions and is, alongside malaria and HIV, a terrible source of suffering, killing 2,000 Africans every day. TB affects mainly younger people of working age with families to support. A lengthy drug treatment is available and can cure ordinary TB, but in Africa hospitals and health services are struggling to keep up with this epidemic, which is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to treat as drug-resistant strains of TB develop. This is a very frightening situation which means for many people that there is no treatment - they are simply abandoned to die a painful death.

Working with clinics in very poor areas of Uganda and South Africa, Jenny has been helping to set up training programs to teach nurses and carers how to administer moxa treatment to their patients, alongside any medication that is available to them. Initial studies have shown very promising results, with patients reporting more rapid recovery from TB and reduced side effects from the toxic drug treatment. Working on a very limited budget, Moxafrica has been able to help hundreds of patients in the last two years, but there is so much more to do. Moxafrica are now funding a clinical trial which is being conducted in Kampala by scientists at Makarere Medical School, to examine in detail the effects of moxa on the immune system of TB and HIV patients. This is the first study of its kind anywhere in the world, and could lead the way to a wider understanding and acceptance of moxa therapy by the medical profession, with the potential to benefit millions of the world’s neediest people.

Moxafrica is a very small charity with a huge mission. Funds are needed urgently to continue their research and ongoing support of African clinics. You can help by coming along to a fundraising event in Wigtown’s County Buildings on Thursday 25th April at 7.30pm. An exciting musical program will be provided by a mini-orchestra of nine Dumfries and Galloway musicians, The Vintage Ensemble, who will play a rich variety of short pieces from many different cultures and from the 16th to the 20th century. In addition, Jenny Craig will give a short illustrated presentation about the charity’s work and there will be a raffle and refreshments with delicious home baking for sale.

Entry is free but donations are invited. All proceeds will go to Moxafrica. Please come along, bring your friends, have fun and support this very worthy cause.

For more details about Moxafrica see http://www.moxafrica.org

For information about the concert, call Jenny Craig 01671 404845