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Free Content The treatment of tuberculosis in South Korea

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South Korea's complex system of tuberculosis control has never been fully described. The prevalence of tuberculosis has dropped dramatically since 1965, partly because of farsighted governmental policy that provided low-cost, accessible tuberculosis treatment to the entire population. Within the tuberculosis control system, public and private sector entities provide a wide variety of treatment options. The National Tuberculosis Program focuses on improving cure rates for new cases, while the private sector has taken more of a role in the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis and other types of complicated cases. There has been a decrease in drug-resistant tuberculosis since 1980 for multiple reasons, including increased cure rates from the introduction of rifampin-based regimens, improved nutrition and living standards, and the treatment of drug-resistant cases in the private sector. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, however, still poses a significant threat to public health. The limited outcomes data that exist in South Korea for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment suggest that cure rates are low and failure and abandonment rates are high. New public health measures are needed to improve the control of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
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Keywords: National Health Programs; control; multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; prevention; tuberculosis

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Partners In Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: Korean Institute of Tuberculosis, Korean National Tuberculosis Association, Seoul, Republic of Korea 3: Tuberculosis Strategy & Operations, Stop TB, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 4: Chest Surgery Department, National Masan Tuberculosis Hospital, Masan, Republic of Korea

Publication date: 01 October 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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