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 TB from the 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.
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.