Tuberculosis (TB) is the single most deadly infectious disease in the world. In 2011, TB killed 1.4 million people and around 8.7 million new cases were diagnosed (World Health Organisation 2012). Asia and Africa are the hardest hit but Eastern Europe has also recently seen a major increase in deaths related to TB after many years of steady decline.
The British Red Cross supports TB programmes in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as well as helping combat TB through a community-based health programme in Liberia. The programmes we support focus on raising awareness about the disease among young people and supporting people diagnosed with TB in their homes.
Two major challenges in the fight against TB are the increase of cases that are resistant to first line drugs used to treat the disease and co-infection with HIV . Community action is key to providing an effective response to reduce the number of TB infections and related deaths and must include the participation of affected people and their families.