The New Global Medical Crisis: XDR-TB


In putting himself in the middle of conflict for 30 years, the intention of legendary photojournalist James Nachtwey is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.

As he says: "Photographers go to the extreme edges of human experience to show people what’s going on. They believe your opinions and your influence matter. They aim their pictures at your best instincts: generosity, a sense of right and wrong, the ability and the willingness to identify with others, the refusal to accept the unacceptable.”

James has covered war and human rights stories, traveling from Northern Ireland to Iraq, from the orphanages of Romania to the deadly killing grounds of the Sudan. He knows the power of news photographs to raise awareness and make real change.

When Nachtwey was awarded the TED Prize, which comes with $100,000 and one wish to change the world, he wished for help in telling a vital story to the world, using powerful photos taken around the globe. is the result of this wish.

XDR-TB, or extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, is a new and deadly mutation of tuberculosis. Similar in creation to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) but more extreme in its manifestation, it arises when common tuberculosis goes untreated or standard TB drugs are misused. James’ photographs represent these varying strains.

A race has ensued between the ability of a deadly, mutated bacteria to spread, and our ability to spread awareness first. Health authorities know what needs to be done, but politicians and the public at large don't have XDR-TB on their radar. That's what James Nachtwey's powerful TED Prize wish is all about.

Throughout the month of October and beyond, these breath-taking pictures will be seen across the world in new and exciting ways: projections and LED screen displays in public spaces; film, music and creative arts festivals; human-rights festivals, fashion shows, art galleries and installations, art walks and much more. Details are on the XDR-TB page under 'Where to Watch'.

And in further encouraging news, Time magazine is running a 7-page, cover-promoted feature of XDR-TB in all of its global editions published today.

Visit to find out what you can do to help keep millions of people alive!