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[Medical service systems for tuberculosis in low-incidence countries].

Kato, Seiya; Ito, Kunihiko; Takatorige, Toshio; Ohkado, Akihiro; Tanaka, Keiji; Ishikawa, Nobukatsu.
Kekkaku; 87(9): 577-84, 2012 Sep.
Artigo em Japonês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23198603

OBJECTIVES:

Currently, Japan has a near low incidence of tuberculosis (TB); the incidence is below 20/100,000. Considering this incidence, the medical service provision system needs to be restructured and related policies need to be revised. The Revised National Guidelines for TB Control, issued in May 2011 by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, provided the policy towards achieving a low incidence of TB. This study aims to provide suggestions for restructuring the medical service system in Japan by analyzing the systems in selected countries with low incidence.

METHOD:

Between 2004 and 2010, we conducted tours to study TB control and medical services in the UK, the USA, Germany, The Netherlands, and Norway. In these tours, we visited the medical facilities, agencies implementing preventive activities, health departments of central and local governments, reference laboratories, technical agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations involved in TB control in these countries. In addition, we collected information from published papers and related documents through the internet. This paper reports the policies and strategies adopted in these low-incidence countries, especially pertaining to medical service systems, directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) services, hospital beds and facilities, objectives and duration of hospitalization, and mechanisms for maintaining quality medical services.

RESULTS:

In all the visited countries, except Germany, TB patients were diagnosed and treated, as well as provided support such as DOTS, by a single organization or agency. In the US and Norway, DOTs was provided to all TB patients at chest centers and/or health centers. On the other hand, in the UK, guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) stated that DOT is not necessary for managing most active TB cases. In these countries there were 3 modes of treating infectious patients: home isolation, hospitalization for the first 2 weeks after initiating treatment, and hospitalization until smear examination results are negative. None of the countries had official standards for hospitalization. Measures to maintain service quality were integrating service providers, strengthening technical support, training and/or educating experts, and networking of personnel in charge.

DISCUSSION:

The study tours were conducted over 6 years, but no follow-up surveys were conducted. In each visit, we visited only a limited number of medical facilities, which may not be representative of that country. Obviously, this report does not aim to be a comparative study but to provide useful information for discussing the future direction of the medical service system in Japan. In Japan, TB is diagnosed and treated in hospitals and clinics, but contact surveys and other preventive activities are conducted in health centers. In this regard, Japan seems to be unique in that the ways to achieve collaboration among hospitals, health centers, and related organizations are emphasized in the revised National Guidelines for TB Control. Regardless of the DOT target group of a patient, healthcare providers in Japan are expected to ensure patient's adherence through patient-centered support in order to achieve successful treatment. In Japan, the central Government is expected to take responsibility to prevent infection. We suggest that the standards for lengths of hospital stay of TB patients should be revised such that the lengths are based on each patient's bacteriological condition and social setting. The revised National Guidelines for TB Control provide frameworks for ensuring the quality of medical services, but further discussions are warranted in order to plan and implement an effective strategy.
Selo DaSilva