On the evening of Tuesday the 2nd of March, RESULTS held a conference call as a part of the World TB Day campaign.
TB is not only a global issue affecting some of the poorest countries in the world but also a local problem. There were nearly 9,000 reported cases of TB in the UK this year. This month’s action is about linking the local with the global. We invite you to join RESULTS on Monday the 24th of March for World TB Day.
During RESULTS Tuesday conference call Amy McConville, TB patient and advocate in the UK shared her personal experience with TB. Amy was diagnosed with pulmonary TB in 2005. Amy first had TB in her left, then right lung. It took 12 months from the point of experiencing symptoms for Amy to get diagnosed with TB. Because Amy’s diagnosis took so long, her TB was already at an advanced stage upon beginning treatment. Ultimately, Amy had to have surgery to remove her entire left lung. With delayed diagnosis come complications. In order to improve health outcomes of TB sufferers, TB must be diagnosed as soon as possible. The typical profile of a TB sufferer is someone with a compromised immune system that comes from an area with high rates of TB. It is important to recognize that while some groups of people are more vulnerable to TB, anyone can get TB. It is imperative that clinicians and the health community strengthen their awareness of TB and possible symptoms.
Amy describes TB as a lonely disease because of the low levels of awareness amongst the public and amongst healthcare professionals. When Amy was diagnosed with TB she experienced feelings of isolation due to the lack of support networks. She stresses that social support networks are essential to relieve the social hardships of the disease.
TB has a serious long term impact on both physical and psychological well-being. TB drugs have horrible side effects that may make the patient feel worse than the disease itself. Without social support, many TB suffers stop treatment and go on to develop a more serious, drug resistant form of TB. More effective interventions must be put in place. The voices of TB must be heard to improve treatment. TB is currently being treated in a clinical model of health but it needs to be recognized and treated as a social disease as well.
Amy’s campaigning work with the Tuberculosis Action Group (TBAG) has raised awareness of the disease and has united those impacted by TB. TBAG members have the patient perspective which is essential to improve the way in which TB is treated. TBAG has done work to raise TB awareness through media highlighting that the UK does not provide the services that TB patients need.
You can learn more about Amy’s story and the stories of other TB patients in the UK in RESULTS TB Voices Report.
You are invited to join RESULTS on Monday the 24th of March for World TB Day. 9:30am we will meet at the RESULTS office in Vauxhall for breakfast. At 11am RESULTS will head to parliament for a briefing with speakers from Malawi and India with first-hand experience with TB. The “Find and Treat” x-ray unit (a mobile x-ray that screens vulnerable populations for TB and gets them off to treatment) will be parked in parliamentary grounds. Many other World TB Day events will take place at parliament going on until the evening.
Tuesday the 25th of March marks the The Johannesburg meeting On March 25th, ministers of Health, Labour and Finance, along with CEOs from leading mining companies will meet in Johannesburg to continue negotiations on the next steps for the regional response to TB in Mining, including the Code of Conduct. TB in mining has been an issue for over 100 years and the Johannesburg meeting marks an opportunity for mining companies to take accountability for their worker’s health, even after they have returned to their villages.
RESULTS looks forward to you joining us this Saturday the 8th of March at 7pm. RESULTS advocates from around the world and our partner organisations will join together to hear from Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, in advance of the Global Partnership’s June 2014 pledging conference.