Management in Health, Vol 18, No 3 (2014)

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DISTRIBUTION OF TUBERCULOSIS CASES IN ALBANIA DURING 2012-2013

Vera KURTI, Hasan HAFIZI, Bardhyl KURTI, Fitim MARKU, Donika MEMA

Abstract


CONTEXT: BACKGROUND: The information about current trends of tuberculosis in Albanian speaking countries is limited. Our aim was to describe the distribution of tuberculosis in Albania, a former communist country in Southeastern Europe.

METHODS: This study included all new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosed in Albania during the period June 2012 – June 2013 (N=197; overall mean age: 43.8±19 years). The recording and reporting system was performed according to the WHO and EuroTB Surveillance guidelines. Socio-demographic characteristics included age, gender, residence, marital status, employment status, educational attainment and income level. In addition, data on selected risk factors were collected including smoking status, excessive alcohol consumption, presence of a separate kitchen in the house and distance to health care facility.   

RESULTS: There were 136 (69%) male and 61 (31%) female cases. About 20% of the cases were 15-24 years old, whereas19% were ≥65 years old. About 45% of the patients were residing in urban areas. The unemployment rate was particularly high (43%) and only 29% had completed at least nine years of formal schooling. The overall prevalence of smoking was 21%. Only 27% of the patients reported a separate kitchen at their respective homes, whereas 23% had a distance >20 km from their health care facilities.

CONCLUSION: Our study offers useful evidence which could inform health professionals, policymakers and decision-makers about the occurrence and distribution of tuberculosis cases in post-communist Albania, a country in the Western Balkans which is still struggling in its transition towards a market-oriented system.      

 

Keywords: Albania, case detection rate, incidence, pulmonary tuberculosis.

 


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