When people talk about Tuberculosis (TB) they usually mean active TB. A person with active TB can become very ill and can spread the bacteria to others. However almost a third of the world population has the Latent Tuberculosis infection (LTBI) which lies undetected, asleep in their bodies and can develop in to active TB. It is estimated that 10 million people (about one in ten people with Latent TB) develop the active disease annually despite the existence of effective treatment.
In the UK, treatment of a typical case of tuberculosis is estimated to cost £5,000, however, a case of Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR) tuberculosis can cost upward of £50,000 (or £100,000 in the case of more broadly resistant variants such as extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis).
In Birmingham and Solihull there is a growing migrant population some of whom were born in or spent more than six months in countries with a high TB incidence. To address the issue of a potential increase in the prevalence of TB, NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) embarked upon a campaign centred around Latent TB with the aim to raise awareness of Latent TB and encourage people to undertake a blood test, where they met the eligibility criteria for screening.
This was achieved through:
- A screening programme delivered in GP practices
- Social marketing campaign concentrated on awareness raising and screening events in communities most affected.
- 89 GP practices in Birmingham and Solihull signed up to deliver the screening programme, offering a free blood test to individuals who fit the criteria
- TB could be sleeping inside you! poster distributed to local community and neighbourhood centres and pharmacies
- Screening event posters displayed in health centres, barbers, newsagents, gyms, library, opticians, walk-in centres, GP surgeries and mobile phone shops
- Bookmarks and tote bags advertising TB could be sleeping inside you! given out at educational and community venues
- Videos and animations created along with a short survey to check eligibility for testing
- PR and social media content shared
- Various outreach and screen events held at Aston University, Ashiana Project, Lozells Methodist Church, Birmingham City University, Sparkhill Leisure Centre, Asda Small Heath, Birmingham Central Mosque, Guru Nanak Gurdwara.
Further efforts to engage migrant communities – with the Refugee and Migrant Centre
The Refugee and Migrant Centre (RMC) is a charity committed to changing the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. The RMC assists all members of new and emerging communities regardless of country of origin, ethnicity, legal status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
The CCG partnered with the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Birmingham as the centre is frequented by a high footfall of migrant communities and offers latent TB testing onsite. A bespoke latent TB poster was designed for the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Amharic, Arabic, Tigrinya and Urdu to encourage non English speakers to get tested.