Tuberculosis (TB)

Addressing the needs of vulnerable populations

A pregnant woman among a group of women listen to public health information on tuberculosis.


Areas of work


WHO's commitment to the promotion of equity and pro-poor policies in its disease prevention and control activities is based on the recognition of poverty as a major barrier to health and health care. In the case of TB, the links between poverty and disease burden have been documented for many years.


Recent field experience has demonstrated that a TB programme can be implemented effectively and produce good treatment outcomes, in appropriately chosen refugee and displaced population settings.


In most of the world, more men than women are diagnosed with TB and die from it. TB is nevertheless a leading infectious cause of death among women. As TB affects women mainly in their economically and reproductively active years, the impact of the disease is also strongly felt by their children and families.


The level of TB in prisons has been reported to be up to 100 times higher than that of the civilian population. Cases of TB in prisons may account for up to 25% of a country’s burden of TB. Late diagnosis, inadequate treatment, overcrowding, poor ventilation and repeated prison transfers encourage the transmission of TB infection.