University sees red in fight against TB

‘Lighting up the world for Tuberculosis (TB)’ is the message behind a campaign that will see one of the University’s buildings illuminated red this weekend.

To mark World TB Day, the Stop TB Partnership is encouraging supporters across the globe to show their commitment towards ending the disease through this symbolic gesture. The Parkinson building will be lit up red between 6pm on Saturday 24 March and 3am on Sunday 25 March 2018.

TB claims 4,500 lives a day, and it is described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global epidemic. It is still the top infectious killer worldwide.

Local support from the Stop TB Partnership campaign comes from COMDIS-HSD, which is a Research Programme Consortium funded by UKAID. The coordinating partner for COMDIS-HSD is The Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development at Leeds.

It carries out research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, such as TB, within primary care and community settings. Its focus is on making care effective and more acceptable to patients, families and communities. This leads to better case finding, earlier diagnosis and treatment and higher treatment completion rates.

Researchers at the University are also working with organisations in low-income countries to find interventions that can effectively help those living with TB to be successfully treated and keep healthy.

TB, and particularly drug-resistant TB – which requires up to 24 months’ treatment with strong drugs – has negative impacts on mental health. The University is developing counselling and support programmes to help people with TB maintain their mental well-being throughout their treatment.

Helen Elsey, Associate Professor in Public Health at the University, said: “TB is still an important health issue in Leeds, affecting some of our most vulnerable communities.

“The most significant impacts of TB are seen in low-income countries. The global community has set a goal to end the TB pandemic by 2030.

“However, a recent WHO report warned that current global actions and investments fall far short of those needed to achieve this goal. There is an urgent need to mobilise political, social and resource commitments to ensure that here in the UK and globally we can end this debilitating and dangerous disease and the human suffering which it brings.”

* The lighting up of the Parkinson building will be suspended between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday as the University also shows its support for Earth Hour.

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