Testing millions to stop tuberculosis migration
In the Gulf Region, labor migration is the main source of new Tuberculosis (TB) cases. Dr. Eskild Petersen, a world-renowned TB expert from Denmark, consults in Oman to spearhead the fight against the world's deadliest infectious disease.
Focusing on latent TB
We are not fighting against people, but against a bacterium.
Fighting the stigma
One of the most pressing questions for Dr. Farah Jawad at Al Rahma TB Hospital is how to deal with patients with latent infections from future mass screenings. “The government has promised that none of the people with positive results will be deported. Instead, everyone will be treated here in Oman, free of charge.” She considers such commitments vital to ensure the screenings will continue, as they depend on the cooperation of immigrants. She adds that screenings should not lead to stigma. “We are not fighting against people, but against a bacterium.”
Eskild Petersen is convinced that the fight against tuberculosis can only be won with consistent screening for latent TB. Screening costs are ultimately lower than those for treatments and can help combat the spread of this disease. “A diagnosed latent TB infection can be treated at an early stage with fewer and less-expensive medications in less time, without costly isolation in a hospital,” Petersen explains. Most important is that patients will benefit; experiencing fewer side effects from the treatment and achieving a better outcome.”