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Free Content Tuberculosis control in a socially vulnerable area: a community intervention beyond DOT in a Brazilian favela

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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the population-based impact of a comprehensive intervention to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) control in Rocinha, the largest urban slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

DESIGN: In July 2003, 40 lay persons were hired and trained as community health workers to supervise treatment, implement educational activities and establish a supportive social network for anti-tuberculosis treatment. Between July 2005 and June 2008, a door-to-door active case finding campaign was conducted. Data were obtained from the Brazilian National Reporting System, which collects information from the TB notification form for every reported case.

RESULTS: Between January 2001 and December 2008, 2623 TB cases were reported, 852 before and 1771 after the start of the program. Following the intervention, treatment success rates increased (67.6% vs. 83.2%, P < 0.001) and default rates dropped (17.8% vs. 5.5%, P < 0.001). Compared to the pre-intervention period, the TB case rate declined by an average of 39 cases per 100 000 population per 6 months (P = 0.003) in the post-intervention period, although this may have been due to secular trends already in place at the start of the intervention. Case rates declined from 591/100 000 in 2001 to 496/100 000 in 2008.

CONCLUSION: With proper planning and effective community involvement, a successful intervention can lead to high cure rates and may contribute to a decrease in TB notification rates.
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Keywords: TB case notification rate; community health workers; incidence rate; slum

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: City of Rio de Janeiro Health Secretariat, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2: Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland, OR, USA 3: City of Rio de Janeiro Health Secretariat, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; IPEC-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4: IPEC-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 5: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Tuberculosis Research, Baltimore, MD, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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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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