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Disadvantaged TB patients urgently need social support to make medical treatment more effective

Greater social support is urgently needed to meet the complex needs of the growing number of socially disadvantaged UK residents suffering from Tuberculosis (TB), according to a study in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Research carried out by TB specialists across London found that the increased concentration of TB in marginalised groups presents new challenges for the agencies trying to halt its spread.

"TB has risen considerably in major European cities in the last 10 years and London is no exception" says lead researcher Dr Gill Craig from The City Universitys Institute of Health Sciences.

"Increased migration, poverty, HIV, poor quality and overcrowded housing, homelessness, the failure of TB control in institutionalised populations and lifestyle factors related to drug misuse have all played a role.

"Models of care that can cater for both the social and medical needs of patients are an essential, but often neglected, aspect of TB management and one that needs to be urgently addressed if we are to tackle this growing health issue."

The study, which covered 250 patients attending one London hospital between January 2003 and January 2005, found that the disease was more common among men (57 per cent) and people aged between 20 and 39 (60 per cent).

Other key findings included:

  • 42 per cent of TB patients were from Africa, 27 per cent from Asia, 24 per cent from the UK and 6 per cent from the rest of Europe.

  • Just under a third were homeless, with 11 per cent living in a hostel or on the streets and a further 21 per cent staying with friends or relatives. 39 per cent were receiving welfare benefits and 13 per cent had no income.

  • 16 per cent werent registered with a family doctor, 13 per cent were seeking asylum and 16 per cent did not speak English as their first language.

  • More than a third anticipated problems taking the
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
23-May-2007


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