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Why There’s Hope for the Global TB Epidemic

TB_4.jpgA patient at the Group of TB Hospitals in Mumbai draws a portrait of his nurse’s daughter.
Image: Courtesy of Ground Media

Presented by Johnson & Johnson, proud partner of Global Citizen, helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives. All images under copyright courtesy of Ground Media.

Tuberculosis may be known as the “silent killer,” but for many people around the world, the disease and its devastating impact are all too real.

Rhemat (pictured below) lives in a slum with her mother in Mumbai. She came to Mumbai with her husband and young son to be closer to a clinic to get treatment for tuberculosis. But now, facing a combination of physical and financial difficulties, Rhemat may need to interrupt her treatment and return home so her husband can go back to work.

Rhemat’s story is unfortunately not unique. Every year, about 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis and more than 9 million are infected. Poverty often compounds the situation, preventing many from receiving or completing treatment. A full one-third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis, and resistance to current treatments is rising rapidly. In 2014 alone there were 480,000 cases of multi-drug resistant TB. TB is particularly prevalent in Africa and Southeast Asia and is especially challenging when found in patients co-infected with HIV.  

Despite the incredible burden of TB, there is cause for optimism. TB is treatable and significant progress is being made. According to the World Health Organization, more than 43 million lives have been saved since 2000 through accurate diagnosis and treatment of TB, and the majority of TB cases can be cured with timely diagnosis and proper treatment. With the full range of effective treatments in mind, Stop TB Partnership, of which Johnson & Johnson is a partner, has put forward a bold plan to dramatically reduce TB deaths in the next 5 years. Investment in the plan will prevent 45 million new TB cases and save 10 million lives.

The accompanying photos depict key moments in the lives of those at risk of or living with, TB in Vietnam, India, and South Africa. Johnson & Johnson is proud to work alongside partners in these countries to eliminate this deadly scourge. These arresting photos give us a glimpse into the state of the TB epidemic everywhere and remind us that behind every new case of the disease, there is a human being waiting for us to take action.


Rhemat S. lies on the floor of her mother's home in a slum next to a garbage dump in Mumbai. Her son and mother sit behind her and care for her. Rhemat and her husband came to Mumbai to be closer to a treatment center so she could receive medicine, but they say they may soon return home, interrupting Rhemat's treatment, so her husband can continue to work. She is currently so weak that she is often unable to sit up for more than 10 minutes at a time.


Gold miners pray underground before beginning a shift at the mine near the Vaal River in South Africa. This mine has a dust reduction system in place in hopes of lowering the rate of silicosis. South African gold miners are particularly vulnerable to contracting TB because of the small, poorly ventilated work and living conditions, high rates of HIV and high rates of silicosis, a lung disease often found in miners that increases the chance of having active TB.


Patients wait for a consultation at the Phom Ngac Thach hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This is the largest TB and Lung Disease hospital in all of southern Vietnam.

Presented by Johnson & Johnson, Major Partner of the 2016 Global Citizen Festival, and supporting partner with Stop TB Partnership.

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