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Social status makes a difference: Tuberculosis scenerio during National Family Health Survey - 2
Authors: Kaulagekar, A. A. Radkar
Source: Indian Journal of Tuberculosis, Vol 54, Page: 17-23
Topic(s): Tuberculosis
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2007
Abstract: The poorest of people from the poorest of countries are the ones most affected by tuberculosis. Not only are they more vulnerable to the disease because of their living and working conditions, they are also plunged deeper into poverty as a consequence of TB. A person with TB loses, on average, 20 to 30 per cent of annual household income due to illness1. Evidence from various researches strongly suggests that there is a close link between TB and poverty2-5. The link also highlights the relevance of gender issues in the context of prevalence and treatment of TB in developing countries6. A heavier burden of poverty and comparatively lower socio-economic status of women make them more vulnerable to adverse social and environmental conditions. Relatively few studies of gender differences in TB have generally come from Third World countries. These studies suggest differences in diagnosis, treatment and societal perceptions of TB in women, usually to their disadvantage, and reflecting their lower social status in many societies7-9. However, Hamid and colleagues10 found that the gender difference observed in routine TB diagnosis is real, and is not due to lesser accessibility of women to health services. Gender and TB experts have since been working on an agenda for research into biological, epidemiological, social and cultural differences in the occurrence of TB in men and women and their access to the TB treatment strategy11. It is estimated that more than 600 million women worldwide are infected with TB and of these an estimated 3.1 million fall ill each year. TB kills more women annually than all causes of maternal mortality combined. The impact of TB on women is more intense with problems of malnutrition, ill health, HIV infection, repeated childbirth, fear, stigma attached to the disease.