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David Rochkind

Submitted by on January 26, 2011 – 1:26 pm

David Rochkind (b.1980) graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A in Sociology and speaks fluent Spanish. He has been based in Latin America since 2003, currently in Mexico City.  His pictures have appeared in numerous international publications, including: The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, CARE, The Carter Center,and The United Nations.

For the last few years David has been working on a project involving the TB epidemic in South Africa, India and Moldova. Here is his project statement:

Tuberculosis is a disease both preventable and curable. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization reports that 1.7 million people died from TB in 2006. Every year these numbers increase, and it is estimated that more than 4,500 people currently die from the disease every day. Despite these alarming figures, there is little knowledge or awareness of the disease on a global scale.

The social, health and economic difficulties that TB present are compounded by the spread of new multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB) strains of the disease, which are extremely difficult to treat and can have mortality rates above 50%. MDR-TB has emerged as the result of poor health systems, lack of effective prevention measures, poor quality drugs and lack of availability and/or accessibility to treatment. MDR-TB also arises when a patient intermittently takes his medicine or fails to complete his treatment.

Many new infections are now caused by drug-resistant strains, thus compounding the difficulty of treatment. Treatment for TB consists of a course of daily drugs that a patient must take for 6 months. But this requires continuous access to health care, which can be severely limited in the most affected communities. If a patient intermittently takes the medicine or fails to complete the treatment, the disease can mutate into Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). This new strain of the virus is difficult and expensive to treat, requiring a two-year course of drugs and chemotherapy that costs upwards of $20,000.

While there are a variety of socio-economic and cultural factors that pose challenges to treating TB, a lack of education and understanding about the disease contributes to its spread. At a local level, lack of education and stigma not only magnifies the problems of treatment for patients, but also hinders our ability to motivate outside populations to care about TB and to join in the fight against the disease. At a global level, there is always a need to encourage more interest and investment in research and development for new TB technologies. EPIDEMIC: TB in the Global Community is a project that exposes the real consequences of the disease, not just to the individual patient but also to their families and the communities where TB is found. This project looks at three of the countries that are the hardest hit by TB: South Africa, India and Moldova. Each of these countries is representative of their respective regions, where the TB problem continues to evolve.

TribalTruth is pleased to present David Rochkind's photographs of his project: Epidemic: TB in the Global Community

EPIDEMIC: TB in the Global Community (www.tbepidemic.org) is a free online education program about tuberculosis.  For more information on this project download a free pdf educational information packet here .   The content of this program focuses on South Africa, India and Moldova, countries which are representative of their respective regions where the TB problem continues to evolve.  This project is a joint collaboration between photographer David Rochkind (http://www.davidrochkind.com/) and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (http://pulitzercenter.org/), and is supported by the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership (http://www.lillymdr-tb.com/). This project will be launched on World TB Day on March 24, 2011.

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