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Health Workers Should Use Appropriate Language, ‘Patient-Centered’ Approach As Part Of Comprehensive Strategy To Effectively Treat TB

Devex: Did poor bedside manner cause the rise of multidrug-resistant TB?
Gagik Karapetyan, senior technical adviser of infectious diseases at World Vision

“…[E]ffective TB programming should include TB-counseling training, and that counseling must happen at every stage of diagnosis and treatment — from cough to cure. … Basic training in such ‘soft skills’ as interpersonal communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, and team building can equip service providers to better explore and shape a client’s attitude to their diagnosis and treatment. … Of course using insensitive words when speaking to those affected by TB is not the only reason for the rise of MDR-TB. However, a patient-centered approach employing the right vocabulary — plus compassionate counseling techniques that demonstrate sincere concern for TB-affected individuals, their close social circles, and family members — will ensure most people with TB seek and complete treatment. This will give the bacterial infection much less opportunity to adapt and thrive” (12/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.