Nick Herbert visits Tuberculosis charity

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert paid a visit to the office of TB Alert in Brighton on Friday afternoon (18 January).

 

The MP met with the Chairman of the charity's Trustees, Paul Sommerfeld, along with staff and volunteers.

Nick Herbert is Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Tuberculosis and takes a close interest in efforts to fight the disease, which kills over 1.5 million people worldwide every year.

Mr Herbert was given an update on TB Alert's work and an insight into the individual roles of its staff.  The discussion focused on the need to promote greater awareness of the disease in the UK.

TB Alert works with a range of partners at home and abroad, including UK charity Target Tuberculosis, based in an office a few hundred yards away in the centre of Brighton.  Target TB works to deal with the disease overseas.  The two charities are hoping to mount a joint exhibition at the Houses of Parliament in the Spring.

TB Alert is a national charity which was launched in 1999 to help tackle Tuberculosis in the UK and overseas.  TB has been on the increase in the UK since 1987 and cases in London have doubled in the last ten years.  Around 400 people die each year in the UK.

The charity works for the control and ultimate eradication of TB by increasing access to effective treatment.  They campaign for an increase in global spending to tackle TB, promote awareness of the disease, provide information and education, and support TB projects around the world.  Current projects are focusing on TB in the UK, India, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium and usually affects the lungs.  Common symptoms include a cough that can last for weeks or months, loss of weight, fever and heavy sweating at night, loss of appetite and a general sense of tiredness and being unwell.  TB of the lungs and throat can be infectious.

One third of the world's population - nearly 2 billion people - is infected with TB.  In 2005, there were 8.8 million new cases of the active disease worldwide and 1.6 million people died.  Despite the fact that TB can be cured, less than 40 per cent of those with the disease receive any treatment.

Paul Sommerfeld said: "We at TB Alert were very happy at the interest taken by Nick Herbert in our work against one of the world's greatest killer diseases."

Nick Herbert commented: "I found the visit to TB Alert extremely interesting and informative and it was good to meet the staff and volunteers.

"I'm a strong supporter of the fight against TB and I'm keen to help TB Alert with their work.  It's a tragedy on a global scale that so many people are dying of a disease that can be treated and cured at very low expense."

Mr Herbert added: "I will be trying to help raise the profile of World TB Day, which will be on Monday 24 March."

Nick Herbert co-founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global TB in 2006 in response to concern about the growing scale and impact of the TB epidemic and to reinforce the UK's commitment to halting and reversing the incidence of the disease worldwide.  In November, Mr Herbert addressed the 38th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa.

Ends

 

Notes for Editors

1. For the website of TB Alert, visit http://www.tbalert.org/

2. For the website of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Tuberculosis (APPG on Global TB), visit http://www.appg-tb.org.uk/

3. For the website of UK charity Target Tuberculosis, visit http://www.targettuberculosis.org.uk/

Joe CoombesTB