Stop TB Partnership

Can health diplomacy and regional integration contribute to the control of TB in South America?

19 February 2015 - Argentina - Tuberculosis is a public health problem worldwide and in most of South American countries. Many control strategies have proven ineffective in poor populations with a high level of transmission, probably due to the low adoption of specific measures to face the problem. In this scenario, the low uptake of patients and the underreporting of new cases often prevent recognition of high-incidence areas. The control of this endemic disease in the border regions is particularly difficult because not only depends on a country, but of all those who have common border. For example, as Braga, Herrero and Martinez de Cuellar showed in their study "Tuberculosis transmission in the triple border region: Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina" (Braga et al, 2011) the constant population movements from Brazil to Paraguay and Argentina and vice versa makes this a particularly vulnerable region. In this study, authors identified a spatial cluster of municipalities with high tuberculosis risk in the triple border region. The tuberculosis in the tri-border area shows increasing or stable incidence rates and municipalities with incidence rates above the State average. The area has high tuberculosis incidence and therefore a heavy transmission of the disease. In fact there is a large flow of people in these municipalities and the rapid passage from one city to another favors the spread of the disease in the area.

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Text by: María Belén Herrero