TED Prize

To stop XDR-TB, cure TB. To stop TB, cure poverty.

Posted by: Emily McManus

A powerful idea from the unveiling of James Nachtwey’s photos of the XDR-TB epidemic on Friday night in New York City:

During the Q&A session with some TB experts and activists, an audience member asked: “We’re talking about XDR-TB, but what about regular TB? What are we doing to cure that?”

Dr. Marcos Espinal of the Stop TB Project gave a direct answer:

“Cure poverty. Tuberculosis is a disease of the poor.”

The list of specific risk factors for TB bears this out; you are more likely to catch TB if you are, for example, malnourished, living in crowded conditions or living in a refugee camp or shelter, or if you lack access to health care. It’s a disease of the bottom billion. And so are TB’s frightening new mutated forms, XDR-TB and MDR-TB — because wiping out TB before it mutates costs … $20.

To learn more, download these PDF factsheets about XDR-TB and MDR-TB and World Health Organization and its Stop TB Project. And find 3 quick ways to help at XDRTB.org — such as signing a letter that will be sent directly to your country’s leaders.

As Benjamin von Caspel wrote, when he told his friends about XDRTB.org via Twitter:

James Nachtwey’s TED prize project has gone live – http://www.xdrtb.org/ – Yet another reason to remember the bottom billion matter.

Photo of Dr. Marcos Espinal courtesy of Robert Leslie.

Comments (2)

  • Mari Ann Lisenbe commented on Oct 13 2008

    Just dropping here :) Nice post anyway!

  • Stepan Markovski commented on Oct 10 2008

    There is an online RPG that is running for 6 weeks, at the moment, which goal is to use crowd’s wisdom to try to predict the future, find solution for future problems and eventually give advices how to escape them. The experiment is ran by the Institute For The Future — a Palo Alto based think tank. I think it is a nice try to imagine the future and see how we could limit the damages from our current irresponsibility.