Social and cultural factors in the successful control of tuberculosis.
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Social and cultural factors in the successful control of tuberculosis.

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The burden of tuberculosis on the public health is staggering. Worldwide, annual incidence of new cases is estimated to be about 8 million. Almost 3 million deaths occur yearly. Early case identification and adherence to treatment regimens are the remaining barriers to successful control. In many nations, however, fewer than half those with active disease receive a diagnosis, and fewer than half those beginning treatment complete it. The twin problems of delay in seeking treatment and abandonment of a prescribed regimen derive from complex factors. People's confusion as to the implications of the tuberculosis symptoms, costs of transportation to clinic services, the social stigma that attaches to tuberculosis, the high cost of medication, organizational problems in providing adequate followup services, and patients' perception of clinic facilities as inhospitable all contribute to the complexity. Sociocultural factors are emphasized in this report because hitherto they have not been adequately explored. Salient among those sociocultural factors is the health culture of the patients. That is, the understanding and information people have from family, friends, and neighbors as to the nature of a health problem, its cause, and its implications. A knowledge of the health culture of their patients has become a critical tool if tuberculosis control programs are to be successful. Several anthropological procedures are recommended to help uncover the health culture of people served by tuberculosis clinics.
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