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Qualitative interviews with non-national tuberculosis patients in Cairo, Egypt: understanding the financial and social cost of treatment adherence
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  • Alternative Title:
    Health Soc Care Community
  • Description:
    Limited data are available about the challenges of non-national TB patients undergoing long-term treatment courses in an urban setting. This study aimed to understand the financial and social cost of adherence of non-national TB patients in Cairo, Egypt as a means to inform the development of context-specific interventions to support treatment adherence. In 2011, 22 in-depth interviews were conducted with TB patients from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti to obtain qualitative data. Analysis was based on thematic analysis that aimed to identify recurrent themes and codes from the narratives. The study identified a number of factors that influence TB treatment adherence. Uncertain financial status due to limited or no employment was frequently discussed in interviews, which resulted in fear of not being able to support family, loss of pride, dependence on family and friends, fear of losing housing, food insecurity and limited food options. Respondents also feared infecting other household members and longed for opportunities to discuss their illness and treatment experiences with other individuals but their social networks were often limited. TB-related stigma was driven by shame and blame of infection. Respondents also believed stigma was based on their foreign origin. Stigma manifested in distancing and exclusion in various ways, resulting in isolation, psychological distress and reluctance to disclose TB status to others. Poverty-related factors and social context with a special focus on stigma should be considered when developing strategies for supporting long-term treatment courses for non-national patients in Cairo and other similar urban settings.

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