TB Awareness and Support

Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can affect any part of the body but people with disease in the lungs may transmit the organism to others when they cough.

As part of our partnership work with GP’s, BHA supports people with latent TB to improve treatment compliance, promoting self-care and addressing any wider concerns that may be detrimental to patients’ health.

Although the incidence of TB is low nationally, it is higher in England than many other comparable countries and as it is concentrated in urban areas, there are pockets of very high incidence in some parts of our cities, including areas in Manchester. According with the Tuberculosis in North West England: Annual review (2016 data)

A total of 5,664 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in England in 2016. This corresponds to an incidence rate of 10.2 per 100,000 population similar to the previous year (10.5 per 100,000 in 2015).

The North West local authorities with the highest incidence in 2016 were Blackburn with Darwen (25.9 per 100,000 population), Manchester (25.6 per 100,000 population) and Oldham (18.2 per 100,000 population).

Manchester has the third largest number of cases in the UK and 80% of all local Tuberculosis cases are in non-UK born Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) Communities.

The greatest proportion of new TB cases in 2016 occurred in the White ethnic group (31%), followed by the Pakistani ethnic group (28%).

Tuberculosis (TB) overwhelmingly affects socially disadvantaged communities who experience health inequalities and live in large urban areas. Among the most affected communities there is often a lack of awareness of the symptoms of TB which, combined with deeply held stigma about the disease prevents people from seeking appropriate treatment and support.

Many patients do not engage with the health care service even though TB treatment is free, regardless of a person’s immigration status.

People who do not seek help for TB early have an increased risk of passing on the disease to their family, friends and other close contacts in their community before they are diagnosed.  There is an urgent need to raise awareness of these issues among groups who are more likely to develop TB to ensure that people receive an earlier diagnosis and treatment, improving their own treatment outcomes and reducing the spread of TB within the community.

BHA is working with local GPs to raise awareness of the prevention, detection and early diagnosis of latent TB among the South Asian community in Manchester and Oldham.

Working in partnership with local health providers, we aim to ensure as many eligible patients as possible access the national Latent TB Screening program and support individuals with GP registration.  

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