Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TB and War

Today is an important day on two blogging fronts. It's World TB Day and War and Peace Action Day. Many people see these as two separate events, but they are intimately related.

Since 2004, rates of illness and fatality from TB have dropped, but tuberculosis is still a threat. Over 33% of people infected do NOT get timely diagnosis and treatment, allowing this disease to spread. It is up to all of us to come up with ways to stop the spread of TB! One of these ways, is to try to limit armed conflict, and to utilize DOTS in these areas.

People in conflict areas are even more likely to delay treatment, than those in non-conflict areas. This makes sense because resource allocation is shifted to the military, rather than to civilians. Healthcare services may no longer be available in the area, and accessing them can be dangerous. This means that even people who recognize the symptoms of TB, may not be able to get treatment. Many of these people attempt to treat themselves before they are able to seek medical care. This delay in getting the correct medications can result in further disease progression and transmission.

We tend to picture wars as killing only via weapons-caused wounds. We forget that normal disease processes are still happening. The social upheaval that armed conflict causes, allows disease to have a greater negative impact.

In this age of quick international travel, it is vital that we pay attention to disease progression on a global scale. As humans, we reach out to others to offer aid and comfort. Rather than offering a bandage, we should try to prevent injury in the first place. We need to focus on preventing armed conflicts, and when they do occur, we need to help people receive timely high quality care.

For more information on World TB Day events please visit the Stop TB Partnership and Bloggers Unite World TB Day.


Dave said...

Tristin, thanks for bringing attention to a lesser-known way that war brings suffering to the societies it afflicts.

Healthyou, Registered Nurse said...

The Stop TB Partnership may very well be able to bring an end to this suffering through innovative ways.

One way is to make TB treatment affordable and available to everyone everywhere.

Another way is through education so people can learn to take care of themselves and to prevent the spread.

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