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Incorporating Informal Health Providers Into TB Treatment, Care

According to a literature review recently published in PLoS One, informal health providers account for “nine percent to 90 percent of all health care interactions in low- and middle-income countries (depending on the country, the disease in question and the methods of measurement),” Gina Lagomarsino, a principal and managing director at Results for Development Institute (R4D), writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. “Informal providers also play a huge role in the treatment of TB,” she continues, listing several facts about TB and informal providers. “Now, innovators are developing new ways to treat TB in partnership with informal providers in some of India’s poorest communities,” Lagomarsino writes and describes several of these programs. “These efforts demonstrate the potential to gradually integrate informal providers into the formal health system through training, oversight, technology, and incentives, so that their ubiquity can be become powerful force for good health,” she concludes (3/28).

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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.