The what, why and how of health and development

The Health Investigator asks…what are the obstacles to TB treatment in vulnerable communities?

Helen Clegg from TB Alert:

“Although in most countries it is free, people don’t know it. Often, even if the treatment is free, it costs money to access TB treatment. You might have to travel far or take time off work.”

“There is a perception that TB is not treatable. Women might be divorced or it would delay their marriage proposals. Those with TB and HIV can often delay seeking treatment and by the time they do it’s too far advanced and sometimes too late. There can be a general lack of awareness – particularly in India where there tends to be a culture of holistic healers.”

According to TB Alert, there are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding TB treatment in part of Africa and in India. In Zambia, they’ve found that some people believe that people die when they go on TB treatment, so they don’t come forward for treatment, which has also caused some husbands to leave their wives when they become sick.

Read more cases where stigma to do with TB can impact on people’s lives.

Community driven support is central to TB Alert. According to Helen, TB Alert believe in the social model of health – factors such as household income, social problems rather than medical – and believe you need to go to the grassroots.


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