Annual Review 2014-15: Control

We can control TB by testing the family and regular contacts of patients with the illness. This ‘contact tracing’ looks for people who may have caught the active or latent forms of TB so that the right kind of treatment can be prescribed. But the process is often challenging, since the stigma of TB prevents many patients disclosing who they might have infected.

Prisoners in a Zambian prisonPrisons are crowded, poorly ventilated environments where inmates’ health is rarely a priority – particularly in resource poor countries such as Zambia. This explains why prisoners experience high rates of TB, including drug-resistant TB, which can feed into the wider community when they are released.

In 2014, TB Alert helped launch a new project to address TB and TB-HIV in the Mpima and Mukobeko prisons in Kabwe. The project:
• informs prisoners and wardens about TB and HIV so they can seek help for symptoms
• supports prisoners with TB and HIV even after their release
• traces the contacts of prisoners to see if they have been infected
• helps prison officials advocate at a national level for improved TB control measures.