Tuberculosis (TB) overwhelmingly affects socially disadvantaged communities who experience health inequalities and live in large urban areas. Manchester has the third largest number of cases in the UK  and 80% of all local Tuberculosis cases are in non UK born Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) Communities.  In Manchester, between 2001 and 2010,the highest proportion of new cases has consistently been among Black African and Asian populations.

Among the most affected communities there is often a lack of awareness of the symptoms of TB which, combined with deeply held stigma about the disease prevents people from seeking appropriate treatment and support. Many patients do not engage with the health care service even though TB treatment is free, regardless of a person’s immigration status.

People who do not seek help for TB early have an increased risk of passing on the disease to their family, friends and other close contacts in their community before they are diagnosed.  There is an urgent need to raise awareness of these issues among groups who are more likely to develop TB to ensure that people receive an earlier diagnosis and treatment, improving their own treatment outcomes and reducing the spread of TB within the community.