This live blog is from the Pacific Health Summit in Seattle, a three-day meeting that opened Tuesday night. Its focus is the global response to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
When renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey went on assignment to document the depth of the world’s tuberculosis problem, he says he witnessed pain everywhere.
“ I try to put a human face on a critical health issue that is not understood,’’ Nachtwey told those attending the Pacific Health Summit today – a meeting devoted to the state of TB and multidrug-resistant TB today. “I wanted a mass audience to look at the eyes of the people in critical need of assistance.’’
The hallways of the conference in Seattle are lined with Nachtwey’s photographs – pictures that are intimate and discomforting. He captures patients crying out, patients with fearful looks, and patients with almost no life in eyes.
“Everywhere I went I kept encountering TB,’’ he said. “I witnessed immense suffering from people who barely were surviving, who sometimes were forced to sell their small farms because of hospital costs. … I saw so many people in pain and afraid, their way of life broken. My heart went out to them.’’
Nachtwey said he hoped those who view his photographs take away “a sense of compassion. … If people are suffering, it does not mean they don’t have dignity. … If people are in pain, it doesn’t mean they don’t have hope. And if they don’t give up, how can anyone in the outside world give up.’’