What lessons can be drawn from tuberculosis (TB) control in China in the 1990s? An analysis from a health system perspective.
China has made a significant achievement in tackling the TB epidemic over the last decade, due largely to the implementation of directly-observed treatment strategy (DOT). The cure rate of TB cases reached more than 90% for registered TB patients. However, the case detection rate has, unfortunately, been very low (some 30%). Using available information, this paper identifies four main problems facing TB control in China, these are, low case finding, a substantial proportion of TB patients failing to complete standardised treatment, increased proportion of MDR TB patients, and lack of effective TB control among "floating populations". The paper also analyses the possible causes of these problems associated with socio-economic barriers in care seeking, ineffectiveness of TB services, particularly in poor areas, lack of co-operation between health facilities, and weakness of political and financial commitments of local governments to TB control. The paper ends with the discussion of opportunities and challenges facing TB control and makes recommendations for further actions and research.
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