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Woman and child at work in MalawiTB remains a leading cause of death among women, with more than 400,000 women dying of the disease in 2012. 

Women of reproductive age are more likely to develop active TB if they encounter TB bacteria, yet they are less likely to seek help for TB symptoms than men. This has an impact not just on their own health, but on the welfare of their family – particularly their children.

Global efforts to address TB must take account of factors specific to women, including:

Language and literacy: women are less likely to be literate than men – or to learn the language of the host community if they live away from their place of birth. So they are less able to seek help, or to understand printed medical information.

Family responsibilities: women wait up to twice as long to seek treatment as men experiencing the same symptoms. This may be because they have to stay at home looking after children, or are reluctant to use scarce family resources.

Women at work in rural IndiaConfidentiality: women may need a chaperone when going to an appointment or may have to explain where they are going. So the stigma around TB can make them reluctant to seek help.

HIV: the majority of new HIV infections worldwide are occurring in women, increasing their vulnerability to TB.

Pregnancy and childbirth: while TB treatment is safe during pregnancy, maternal TB infection has been linked to complications such as premature birth, low birth weight and increased side-effects from TB treatment. TB is a leading infectious cause of death during pregnancy and delivery, especially among women living with HIV.

  • We need people – people like those in TB Alert, who are focused and ambitious and care for people at grass roots in the UK, India and Africa. Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership

  • We cannot win the battle against AIDS if we do not also fight TB. TB is too often a death sentence for people with AIDS. It does not have to be this way. We have known how to cure TB for more than 50 years. What we have lacked is the will and the resources to quickly diagnose people with TB and get them the treatment they need. Nelson Mandela

  • I am very impressed by the work done by TB Alert, that is why I wanted to spread the message...I am one of those that did think that TB had been eradicated...and suddenly it is back in a very big way! Baroness Joan Bakewell, explaining why she supports TB Alert

  • TB is the child of poverty – and also its parent and provider. TB Alert's Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  • TB Alert are passionate in their work to stamp out TB in the UK and alleviate the problems of people with TB. Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health, Oldham

  • TB Alert allowed me to regain a purpose to live. People who listened, understood and never judged. I am now proud to be part of the team which is able to offer peer support to others. Steve, TB Action Group member

  • TB Alert UK respects partnership work. Chennupati Vidya, President  of TB Alert partner, VMM