TB kills 2000 Africans every day

At the beginning of Blog Action Day 2012 I truly had no idea what to write about. I had a day meticulously planned, appointments to fulfil and thought perhaps I would go to an indie coffee shop in Birmingham and find inspiration.

Missing a bus made all those plans fall apart. Then my Internet went down at home. I was getting stressed and so decided to see if I could get an appointment for acupuncture….

At the clinic I met an inspirational person, called Merlin. It is his story that gave me subject matter for this blog.

If you have read The Celestine Prophesy you will understand that there is no such thing as coincidence. I was destined to meet Merlin on #BAD12.

I’m going to tell you about a little known charity, Moxafrica, who use moxa on people suffering from TB in Africa and Uganda. Most of these patients are also HIV positive. Co-infection with HIV and increasing incidence of drug resistant strains of TB are making this disease more difficult and expensive to treat.

Moxa is not a cure for TB. By its action on the immune system, it offers a safe and inexpensive way of helping the body to increase vitality and fight the disease.

Moxaafrica empowers people to help themselves by teaching home therapy.

One of the seemingly tiny differences it makes is to reduce the pain in joints, such as the knees and hips. For a person who uses latrines, being able to squat is essential to be able to just go to the loo. It is always the small things that make the difference.

So what is Moxa and what does it do? Moxa is a herbal preparation made from the leaves of the mugwort plant (Artemisia spp.). Yes mugwort sounds like it is something you would read about in Harry Potter.

The brief smouldering of tiny pieces of moxa against the skin is called direct moxibustion and has been used in East Asian medicine for centuries, both in conjunction with acupuncture treatment and on its own. Therapeutically it is known to have positive effects on blood circulation and to enhance the immune system. This is supported by published research particularly from Japan.

My brilliant acupuncturist has also used this treatment on me for various ailments (I am such an old crock) including currently for warts.

The joy of this treatment is that the team can go into clinics and show staff and patients the treatment which in most cases is self administered by the patient. Which makes such a simple and cheap intervention.

So what is needed? Well of course you know what I’m going to say. Money. It is a really low cost intervention. Yet more research is needed. Moxafrica is working in collaboration with Makarere University in Kampala to conduct a clinical trial to identify the effects of moxa on the immune system of patients infected with TB and/or TB/HIV.

Today I want you to harness the #powerofwe to raise the profile of the work of Moxafrica. If you work for a charity that supports people in Africa and Uganda, or one that supports people who are HIV positive, consider if it may be able to contribute to the work of Moxafrica. Are you a marathon runner looking for a charity to raise funds for? Consider this pioneering charity. If you want find out more, visit the website and consider donation. If everyone who blogged to day just donated $1 or £1 that would go a long way. We are #thepowerofwe and we can make a difference.

To find out more or to contribute to research, please click here.

All photos have been reproduced with the permission of Moxafrica.