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Free Content Identifying barriers to effective tuberculosis control in Senegal: an anthropological approach

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SETTING: Low tuberculosis (TB) cure rates (average 53%) and high treatment default rates (average 28%) were reported in Senegal between 1999 and 2001.

OBJECTIVE: To qualitatively evaluate the ability of TB patients to access and complete treatment in Senegal, with a view to helping to develop suitable strategies to improve TB control.

METHODS: Anthropological study conducted in a series of public and private, urban and rural health facilities in 2001 and 2002. The qualitative methods used included semi-structured and in-depth interviews of health staff, patients and relatives, focus group discussions, and observations carried in health facilities.

RESULTS: Problems were identified at several levels of health care. The main impediments to successful patient outcomes identified were: limited access to TB diagnosis and treatment facilities, poor communication between health personnel and patients, poor quality information provided to patients, poorly applied directly observed treatment, lack of a strategy to trace defaulting patients and limited supervision of the treatment units by the district leadership team.

CONCLUSION: The anthropological analysis of patient care is an appropriate means of addressing complex public health problems in disease control and identifying solutions that are acceptable, sustainable and adapted to the local context.
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Keywords: anthropology; qualitative studies; treatment adherence; tuberculosis control

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Socio-anthropologie de la santé, UR 02, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Dakar, Senegal 2: UMR 145, Programme Tuberculose, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Dakar, Senegal 3: Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire (IFAN), Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal 4: Programme National de Lutte Anti-Tuberculeuse, Dakar, Senegal 5: UMR 145, Programme Tuberculose, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Dakar, Senegal; and Clinical Trials Division, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France

Publication date: 2007-05-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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