The TB Peer Support Project
The TB Peer Support Project is a partnership involving Groundswell and Find & Treat – who manage the MHU (Mobile Health Unit). The MHU is a van which contains medical equipment to screen for tuberculosis – giving an initial results within a couple of minutes. It parks up outside hostels and day centres for homeless people across London – screening an average of 10,000 people per year.
Groundswell recruits and trains volunteer Peer Educators – people who have personal experience of homelessness and many of whom have been through treatment for TB. They use their experiences to educate people on the realities of TB and to encourage and support people to get screened.
Some TB Facts:
- London has the highest TB rates in Western Europe.
- Infection rates are highest amongst homeless people, prisoners and drug and alcohol users.
- Vulnerable people are twice as likely to develop more infectious forms of TB.
- Chaotic lifestyles can make it difficult for people to complete intensive TB treatments – with very negative health impacts, great public expense and public health risks.
Our Peer Educators
A major part of the Peer Educators work involves raising awareness of TB among vulnerable people -and encouraging staff and clients to maximize the screening uptake on the MXU. Peers are also regularly asked to speak of their work at national and international conferences.
Each year our Peer Educators support 300 MXU screening sessions and assist over 5,000 services users to be screened for TB.
Some of our original TB Peer Educators have progressed on to health related paid employment and further education and some are involved in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advisory group on TB.
If you are interested in becoming a Peer Educator or if you would like to refer someone to the project please contact Sharon Clint or call 0300 039 600.