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AIM

Tuberculosis (TB) spreads through tiny droplets in the air when someone with TB coughs. South Africa has many people that are sick with TB who receive care in clinics and hospitals. There are specific strategies that reduces TB spreading between people. This includes asking screening questions when someone visits a healthcare facility to see if they need a TB test, if they may have TB, offering them a mask that stops the infectious droplets getting into the air, and opening the windows to improve ventilation. Healthcare workers can also use TB masks to protect themselves and their patients. The aim of this study is to find out from healthcare workers and patients in rural areas how they experience prevention of TB spread in clinics and hospitals.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

Some of the strategies used to prevent the spread of TB, like being asked to wear a mask, can make people feel stigmatised. We would like to find out if there are ways to do it that does not make people feel isolated. We also want to understand how healthcare workers overcome some of the things that make it difficult to prevent the spread of TB, so that we can support them to create solutions.

METHODS

We are doing interviews with patients and healthcare workers about their experiences with TB prevention strategies in rural healthcare facilities in Zithulele, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

BENEFITS TO THE PATIENTS

No matter if you live in a rural or an urban area, in the UK or South Africa, people deserve good quality, safe healthcare. This study looks at how we can improve patient safety and the working environments for healthcare workers through more effective prevention of TB spread in healthcare facilities.