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Free Content Barriers to completion of tuberculosis treatment among prisoners and former prisoners in St Petersburg, Russia

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SETTING: St Petersburg, Russian Federation.

OBJECTIVES: To identify barriers to the completion of tuberculosis (TB) treatment among prisoners and former prisoners in St Petersburg, Russia.

DESIGN: Questionnaires were administered to 60 prisoners and 40 former prisoners. Interviews were performed with prison and TB dispensary staff. Treatment follow-up rates were estimated by matching prison release records against attendance records from all 17 St Petersburg-based TB dispensaries over an 18-month period.

RESULTS: Of 80 released prisoners with active TB in 2002, 21 (26.3%) appeared in dispensary attendance records. Barriers to the completion of TB treatment overall were homelessness, unemployment, alcoholism, drug addiction and difficulty tolerating TB medications with co-morbid illnesses such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis. Prisoners and former prisoners ranked help with obtaining an internal passport and money first, followed closely by food and a job, as the most desirable incentives to completing TB treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: A future program for soon-to-be released and released prisoners in St Petersburg that offers an array of desirable flexible social welfare services and incentives has the potential to attract and retain patients within TB treatment, but continued efforts must also be made to include drug treatment, job training and keeping former prisoners out of prison.
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Keywords: Russia; control; multidrug resistance; prevention; prisoners; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: School of Nursing, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA 2: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA 3: Prison Medical Department, Russian Ministry of Justice/GUIN (Federal Penitentiary Department), St Petersburg, Russian Federation 4: Biomedical Center of St Petersburg, St Petersburg, Russian Federation 5: St Petersburg City TB Dispensary, St Petersburg, Russian Federation

Publication date: 01 September 2005

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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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