TB in the Spotlight: McGill Global Health Film Fest 2019

Sophie Huddart and Hannah Alsdurf

What do you think of when you hear the word “tuberculosis” ? Many of us may consider tuberculosis (TB) a disease of the past; it conjures images of pale Victorians coughing into handkerchiefs. Yet, TB is still a present threat in many parts of the world infecting more than 10 million new people each year. Today, TB is the leading cause of death due to an infectious disease worldwide, killing more people than HIV/AIDs.

Canada in particular has a complex history with the disease. First Peoples face rates of TB orders of magnitude higher than non-aboriginal Canadians. For many years, First Peoples diagnosed with TB were forcibly removed from their communities and brought south for treatment, a legacy the Canadian government is only now acknowledging.

We’re excited to share that this year’s Global Health Film Fest will focus on TB. Join us on Thursday, March 21st at 5:30pm in Bronfman Building Room 422 for a panel discussion entitled “The Forgotten Plague: TB in the Media.” We will contrast Hollywood portrayals of TB with narratives from actual TB patients. The panel will include Priya Amin, a TB survivor and patient advocate as well as experts in bioethics and media. At 6:30pm we will screen “TB Unmasked” a short documentary telling the stories of first line TB healthcare workers around the world.

On Friday, March 22nd, at 5:30 pm at the MUHC Research Institute room ES1.1129 we will screen “The Necessities of Life.” Set in 1952 Quebec, this film follows Tivii, an Inuit hunter brought to Quebec City for TB treatment. Separated from his culture, language and community, Tivii faces long odds to get well and return home.

In light of the Canadian government’s recent commitment to end TB in the Inuit Nunangat, it is important and timely to consider how we think about TB in Canada and abroad. The story of TB is a prime example of the forces that shape many issues in global health: inequality, colonialism, and the social determinants of health. This film festival is designed to appeal to anyone interested in global health, regardless of your academic background. So come join us for popcorn, good films and thoughtful discussion!

More information about the Global Health Film Fest is available here.

RSVPs  are encouraged, but not required

March 21st, 5:30PM McGill University Bronfman Building Room 422  RSVP

March 22nd, 5:30PM MUHC Research Institute, Auditorium Room ES1.1129  RSVP


Hannah Alsdurf and Sophie Huddart are PhD students in Epidemiology both working on the global TB epidemic. They are co-chairs of the 2019 McGill Global Health Film Fest.