Free Content How can detection of infectious tuberculosis be improved? Experience in the Somali region of Ethiopia

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In early 1999, 48% of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases detected in the Somali region of Ethiopia were smear-positive. Actions at the laboratory level and peer-review of smear-negative PTB diagnoses were proposed. Clinicians knew, but did not adhere to, the algorithm recommended by the National Tuberculosis Programme for these diagnoses, partly due to the costs involved to patients. Challenging clinicians, in a non-threatening way, to become more clinically rigorous proved successful, and the proportion of smear-positive PTB increased to 65%. Operational research is needed to assess the feasibility of these widely-recommended smear-negative PTB diagnosis guidelines.

Keywords: control; diagnosis; practice guidelines; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Institute For Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium 2: Médecins Sans Frontières Belgium in Ethiopia, Jijiga, Ethiopia 3: Somali National Regional State Health Bureau, Jijiga, Ethiopia 4: Médecins Sans Frontières Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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