TB is an infectious disease that is mainly transmitted through the air when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes. Many people can have what is called ‘latent TB’ but never develop the TB disease. Those at high risk of developing TB include:
- People with HIV infection;
- Babies and young children;
- People who are sick with other diseases that weaken the immune system (e.g. diabetes);
- The elderly; and
- People who did not complete TB treatment in the past.
While TB is curable, it requires a rigorous course of antibiotics over many months. Failing to take the medicine as prescribed can lead to antibiotic-resistance, making it harder to treat and making the prevention of tuberculosis more important than ever.
PCI worked in partnership with the National TB Program in Mexico to train community health volunteers to oversee TB medication intake; raise awareness about the disease so people with symptoms can access detection services; and empower those affected to seek health services, complete treatment, and fight stigma and discrimination. The 13 priority states across Mexico where PCI worked accounted for 65% of all TB cases in the country.
PCI has also collaborated with Mexico’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to strengthen collaboration with two priority programs: HIV/AIDS and Diabetes. Most TB cases in the country relate to these two diseases, making these co-morbidities even more difficult to diagnose. Mexico has been a pioneer in the Americas in TB-Diabetes prevention and control. PCI works with the MOH to ensure a person-centered approach to prevention and control, addressing stigma and discrimination, and also to strengthen coordination, detection, and control of TB and its key co-morbidities.