What happens when health care is scarce and TB rates are high

Updated 7:46 AM ET, Fri March 24, 2017

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Photos are courtesy of Tom Maguire, communications manager and photographer for RESULTS UK.

(CNN)The roads are bright orange and unpaved through the agricultural district of Memot in Cambodia. Along the sides lie miles of maize fields and a few farmers tending to them.

Some of these men reside in the small village of Srosomthmy -- one of many tiny hamlets located within the district.
As they nurture their crops, most of their wives are attending an important meeting at the village's central gathering point to hear about an issue affecting not just them, but the whole country: tuberculosis.
The road leading to Srosomthmy village, in Mamot district, Cambodia.
TB is now the leading cause of death by an infectious disease, globally, and Cambodia has among the highest rates in the world, with 380 people estimated to be infected per 100,000 in the population in 2015.
It's a small country, with a population of just more than 15 million. Total numbers infected appear low when compared globally, particularly against countries such as India, which had almost 2.85 million new infections in 2015, compared to Cambodia's 59,000.
But when it comes to TB, the rate of infection is somewhat more important, as this shows a greater concentration and, given the airborne nature of the disease, greater opportunity for infection.
    This, along with the signs and symptoms of the disease and how best to seek treatment, is what the women of Srosomthmy are learning about during an educational workshop run by local NGO, RHAC.
    Women participate in a TB awareness and education session in Srosomthmy village.
    "Someone will be coughing for months ... and people will say he's an old man and it's part of being old," said Dr. Jamie Tonsing, South-East Asia Regional Director for the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, who believes greater awareness about TB is needed to ensure people get treatment and prevent infecting others.