News from the TB Treatment Field

Recent articles from around the globe related to governments addressing problems with providing treatment services to those with tuberculosis:

A Day in the Life of a TB Worker

When Farhad Jameel, case manager at Gwinnett County’s tuberculosis control clinic, arrives at work each morning, he collects his surgical mask and several large Zip-loc bags containing the individual medications for four to six homebound tuberculosis (TB) patients living in the county. He will spend the next three hours driving around the county to watch patients take their medications.

Each day Jameel sees a handful of patients who take medications only a few days per week and a few others who are taking medications every day, either because their TB was only recently diagnosed or because they cannot tolerate the larger doses required for skipping days.

As a case manager, it is not in Jameel’s job description to watch homebound patients take their medication, a measure required by state law in order to ensure medications are taken properly and that multi-drug-resistant TB doesn’t develop. This is the responsibility of a TB outreach worker, but since the East Metro district’s funding for an outreach worker ran out in December of 2010, Jameel and his colleagues have been doing double duty in a region whose TB rates are among the highest in the state. . . read more

Australia grapples with tuberculosis clinics shutdown

What should you do if your neighbour is sick and can’t afford to see a doctor?

Do you offer to pay up, or is that only going to encourage your neighbour to continue relying on your generosity?

If you decide not to intervene, would you change your mind if you discovered he was suffering from something highly contagious that could end up threatening your life?

These are the sort of questions Australia is grappling with on its northern border.

The Australian and Queensland governments have decided to stop funding medical services for Papua New Guinea (PNG) nationals visiting the Torres Strait and are closing down vital tuberculosis clinics.

But this plan is looking increasingly shaky and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has intervened, asking Australian authorities for a briefing.

There is also mounting evidence that PNG is ill-prepared to take over such a complex and expensive health service, with serious questions being asked about its ability to get access to vital anti-TB drugs. . .read more

Roma Health in France Worsened Since Crackdown, Group Says

The health of Roma migrants in France has deteriorated in the past year as repeated destructions of their camps has made access to medical care more difficult, a French charity group said.

A year after President Nicolas Sarkozy called for illegal gypsy camps to be dismantled, about 2.5 percent of people living in Roma camps have tuberculosis, Francois Corty, head of French operations at Medecins du Monde, said in an interview. A few years ago the figure was close to the overall French average of 0.03 percent of the population with TB, he said. . .read more

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