Implementation Science in Action: Tracking and Treating Tuberculosis in Developing Countries
By Steve Tokar
A patient in rural Uganda is diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), but never begins treatment. In Hanoi, Vietnam, someone with infectious TB might never be diagnosed because the health center where she would go to be tested is too far away.
“Worldwide, only about half the number of TB cases that occur every year are actually detected and reported,” said Adithya Cattamanchi, MD, a clinician at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) and an assistant adjunct professor at the UCSF School of Medicine.
Cattamanchi is working to address challenges in Uganda and Vietnam by applying techniques of implementation science (ImS) learned through the Training in Clinical Research Program provided by UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). ImS is focused on improving health by translating clinical findings into real-world interventions.
To diagnose TB, a health worker obtains a sputum specimen and smears it on a slide. A laboratory technician then examines the specimen under a microscope for evidence of TB. In conventional practice, a minimum of two specimens are required to confirm the diagnosis.
“Traditionally, we collect a specimen when the patient arrives, and then ask them to come back the next day and bring another specimen. Then they come back a third time to get results and start treatment if they’re positive. Therein lies the problem,” said Cattamanchi, who is also a CTSI KL2 Scholar.
Read more at UCSF.edu
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