IRIN Examines Whether Poverty Reduction Schemes Can Help Lower TB Rate In Developing Countries

IRIN examines “whether a new generation of social protection schemes, aimed at reducing poverty and often using cash transfers to the poorest, can be harnessed to bring down the rate of [tuberculosis (TB)] in developing countries.” The news service writes, “TB is a disease often associated with poverty because latent infections are more easily activated by malnutrition and lowered immune systems, and more quickly passed on in badly ventilated, overcrowded living conditions.”

The news service quotes a number of TB experts speaking at a meeting hosted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on February 15; provides data from a study in Malawi presented at the meeting, which “showed clear health benefits from even very modest cash transfers to the most disadvantaged households”; and cites Brazil as a country that “has achieved a steady decrease in TB and has halved the death rate since 1990, despite not achieving the conventional benchmarks for a successful control program. “‘Social protection issues are fundamental in TB control, and that is why TB control now has to go beyond working with national TB programs … they are too low in the hierarchical agenda of countries,’ Mario Raviglione, [the head of the WHO Stop TB department,] told IRIN,” the news service notes (2/17).

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