Tuberculosis in Sub-Sahara Africa

Tuberculosis is only the second leading cause of death in the
world with AIDS/HIV being the first according to the World Health
Organization (WHO). What makes this infection so harmful to
sub-Saharan countries is that AIDS/HIV and Tuberculosis is found to
have a positive correlation with each other. (Cantwell, 1996)
Tuberculosis is a bacteria that can be easily passed through the air
from an infected individual. Because most of its symptoms are mild,
many people who are infected are unaware for months. Treatment
programs in these countries are in their teenage years with some
major kinks to work out, the larges being how drug interactions with
HIV/AID treatments cause one to be inefficient. The WHO and Global
health organizations such as The International Union against TB have
been in the forefront fighting this battle. Many individual countries
do not participate because many of these countries are poverty
stricken and have nothing that they would want, such as oil. As we
saw in the video clip from this weeks lecture material, a group of
four men had to bring TB treatments to countries because no one else
would due to the belief that they would die and it would not make a
difference. Major organizations have been working at enforcing laws
that cause people to be tested for TB before working in places such
as the coal mines. Sadly they found this to be inefficient as the
percentage of workers who had TB increased from 1% to 30% in a matter
of twenty years. (Corbett, et. Al, 2006) While the reasons as to how
the amount of infected persons increased so greatly with such high
standards are long and unknown, many organizations feel that
establishing preventative actions and some treatments cause more harm
that good.

In the article, “Barriers
and outcomes: TB patients co-infected with HIV accessing
antiretroviral therapy in rural Zambia”,
Chileshe followed a series of patients with TB and HIV and how easy
or hard it may be to get treatment. It was discovered that living in
the rural areas of Zambia made treating TB and HIV more difficult.
With having to foot the bill for transportation to the facilities and
then upon arrival learning that blood work was lost, the electricity
was off or lack of staffing prolonging treatment caused the
financially incapable to suffer even more. When the person was sick
or not feeling well some normal family roles were changed such as the
woman becoming the bread winner. In many cases the families were
ashamed to be acknowledged with having such a disease so they moved
further away from their communities. Having the illness caused the
same financial strain on the families as the funeral for the family
member. At the end of her year long studies of the seven individuals,
only three were taking the treatment and two were to start treatment,
the other two had already passes. Several months after leaving the
three that were on treatment when she left were the only survivors.
The lack efficient treatment options and accessibility for the
patients caused the mortality rates to decrease significantly
alongside with the inability to eat the proper foods. In conclusion,
treatments are only helpful if they can be given in a reasonable
amount of time and other factors do not exist such as lack of
transportation to hospitals and lack of nourishing food. It is only
when theses factors are eradicated that treatment can be effective in
these countries.



1. Cantwell, M. F., and N. J. Binkin. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 1996. Web. 10 Aug. 2012.

2.Corbett E., Martson B., Churchyard G.J., De Cock K.M., “Tuberculosis
in sub-Saharan Africa: opportunities, challenges, and change in the
era of antiretroviral treatment” Lancet 2006; 367: 926–37

3.Muatale Chileshe, Virginia Anne Bond,
Barriers and outcomes: TB patients co-infected with HIV accessing antiretroviral therapy in rural ZambiaAIDS Care Vol.22, Iss. sup1,2010

4.Dye C, Harries AD, Maher D, et al. Tuberculosis. In: Jamison DT, Feachem
RG, Makgoba MW, et al., editors. Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan
Africa. 2nd edition. Washington (DC): World Bank; 2006. Chapter
13.Available from:

5.”Tuberculosis.” WHO.
N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2012.





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