Most people are infected by tuberculosis abroad
Oslo has the most tuberculosis cases. Of those who contracted tuberculosis, most of them were born in other countries, and just about half were born in Africa. It is assumed that there are very few who are infected in Norway, most of those who were sick have been infected in countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis.
MDR tuberculosis is an increasing health threat
During the last 10 years, the number of cases of MDR tuberculosis in Norway has ranged from 3 to 8 per year. MDR tuberculosis is an increasing global health threat, particularly in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and southern Africa. MDR tuberculosis entails major expenses for both the patients and public health service; up to two years long and sometimes painful treatment with very expensive medicines.
Good treatment results in Norway
The treatment results for tuberculosis in Norway are good. However, there is still room for improvement. The result of successful treatment do not include persons who have left the country during treatment, and there are cases where people have disappeared from treatment. This is cause for concern. Interrupted treatment may mean that the patient will get sick again and can infect others. This may also result in the development of resistance. In order to prevent patients from leaving the country or disappearing from treatment, it is very important to provide good information and motivate patients throughout the long period of treatment.
LHL International has good experience with the use of former patients – peers – in the efforts to motivate others to complete the treatment.
More information to newcomers
Even though we have little tuberculosis in Norway, there are subgroups of the population in which the incidence, and thus the risk of exposure, is much higher. Tuberculosis is difficult to diagnose, and many people are sick long before the disease is identified. Statistics also show that many of those who become sick are relative newcomers.
LHL International finds therefore that it is very important to work with providing information on tuberculosis to newcomers from countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis. Many people do not know the symptoms of tuberculosis, and they do not know that there are effective medicines to treat the disease. There are also many newcomers who need information on how the Norwegian public health service works, so that they know where they can go if they get sick.