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NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group supporting World TB Day - 24 March 2018 

World Tuberculosis Day is a worldwide event that aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. This year it takes place on Saturday 24 March. tb pic.jpg

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen) glands, bones and nervous system. TB is a serious condition, but it can be cured if it's treated with the right antibiotics.

Lewisham has a lower rate compared to the London average at 25.5 cases per 100,000 population[i] with the North of the Borough having the highest proportion of foreign-born residents from high prevalence countries.

NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned a new programme to test and treat TB for 16 to 35 year olds, who have recently arrived in England from high incidence countries where TB  or people who have visited one of these countries in the last 5 years.

The CCG has commissioned One Health Lewisham, the local GP Federation to provide this service in partnership with all 38 GP practices in Lewisham.

Dr Marc Rowland, GP and Chair at NHS Lewisham CCG said: "TB is a disease that is curable but still kills three people every minute around the world[ii]. TB cases in the UK are still low – every year around 6,000 people in the UK are diagnosed[iii]. But most people are successfully cured with a free course of treatment. We are really pleased to be rolling out this service and hope that it will increase the opportunity to detect the disease before patients present with the signs and symptoms."

Dr Prad Velayuthan, GP and Chief Executive at One Health Lewisham said: "One Health Lewisham is excited to launch the TB screening programme for residents of Lewisham. As an organisation founded and supported by all 38 local GP practices, we are ideally placed to build on the existing relationships with our patients. Our robust screening systems and processes will support all patients identified with TB to access services for further treatment."

If you receive a letter about TB, please make sure you contact your GP and request a blood test.

[i] Lewisham Public Health data