Charity fights Brent’s TB problem

Borough has second worse statistics in London that could be helped with improved living conditions

A COALITION of action groups marked World TB Day with a gathering to push forward their assault on tuberculosis.

Brent has the second worst rate of TB in London with more than twice the capital’s average.

The disease, which disproportionately affects people from migrant communities, is often associated with poor living conditions.

Despite this there are 23,000 children living in overcrowded homes in Brent, according to Ealing Primary Care Trust, a body that commissions healthcare services.


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ARCHIVE, a charity set-up by architects to improve living conditions among disadvantaged communities, organised the conference as part of its Happy Healthy Households project.

The project was initiated in 2010 and includes Brent Council, NHS Brent, the Brent Refugee Migrant Forum and the Somali Women’s Enterprise and Employment Project.

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It aims to raise awareness and offer solutions on how the problem can be addressed.

The organisation says simply improving ventilation and sunlight in peoples’ homes can help.

Tom Green, external affairs officer at ARCHIVE, said: “We are trying to educate health service providers and individuals and address the stigmatisation of the disease.

“We are concerned with the levels of ventilation and sunlight, which can burn off and kill the TB in the air, in peoples’ homes.

“Generally speaking it’s private accommodation causing the problems.”

A Brent Council spokeswoman said ‘there is little doubt that the major causes of TB spreading are damp conditions and people living in overcrowded housing for extended periods’.

Richard Price, director of operations at the National Landlords Association, said: “If someone suspects a property is not right they can ask their local authority for a property inspection.

“Our regulations state that if there are serious health and safety issues the landlord would have to correct them.”

A Brent Council spokeswoman said ‘there is little doubt that the major causes of TB spreading are damp conditions and people living in overcrowded housing for extended periods’.

• In 2010 there was a TB incidence rate of 49 per 100,000 people in London, 68 per 100,000 in North West London and 117 per 100,000 in Brent.

• In 2009 there were 299 new cases of TB in Brent of which 89 were among black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

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