Thursday , October 6 2022

Why Bolsa Familia helps increase the rate of healing of tuberculosis


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Senate Agency

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Research followed the patients before, during and after treatment

Tuberculosis affects about 70,000 people per year in Brazil, according to the latest data available from the Ministry of Health. Considered a disease related to poverty, many more people with low incomes and a poor quality of life come to life.

So much so that the understanding of the researchers is that simple measures to combat poverty and improve living conditions can have very positive effects on the treatment and cure of the disease.

Last month, this thesis was corroborated by a study on Brazilian epidemiologists supported by the WHO (World Health Organization), published in the prestigious Lancet scientific journal.

The survey indicated an increase of 7.8% in the rate of healing of tuberculosis among people who receive the benefit of the Family Exchange compared to people with the same demographic and socioeconomic characteristics that do not benefit from the program healthcare

"It is a very complete treatment. To get an idea, a new drug released to the market is 5% different from the existing treatment, it is a big problem," explains the epidemiologist Ethel Maciel, UFES researcher. Federal do Espírito Santo) and coordinator of the study.

Patients in extreme poverty

UFES and UFBA (Federal University of Bahia) have been studying for years how social programs affect health indicators. In 2012, he called WHO attention, which has a special focus on diseases such as tuberculosis.

"They offer advice on creating a great program, a case study for the world," explains Maciel, the group has chosen to study the Family Stock Exchange, which conditions the economic aid to specific actions of families in need of health (vaccination ) and education

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The Rocinha favela is an endemic area of ​​tuberculosis

The researchers from both universities followed the health history of a sample of more than 1,000 people with tuberculosis in seven cities in the five regions of Brazil between 2014 and 2017.

The patients were divided into two groups: those who received the Familia Bolsa and those who did not. The results of the treatment were followed after six months of therapy.

The benefit is offered to families with extreme poverty (with a monthly income of up to R $ 89 per person) or poor families (with income of up to R $ 178 per person) that have children minors or pregnant women.

"In theory, all those who were very poor should receive (help), but it was not the reality we found," explains Ethel Maciel. "Many people who received low income were not in the program."

Patient data was evaluated using statistical models that allowed comparing people from both groups (who received the help) with similar characteristics (age, health status, sex, body mass index, conditions of life, access to sanitation, etc.).

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Getty Images

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Humid and poorly ventilated environments favor the transmission of the disease

Previous studies with data analysis in health records have already shown the relationship between social programs and the improvement of tuberculosis healing, called retrospective studies, which analyze data from the past.

This new study, coordinated by Maciel, was the first study in Brazil to follow patients prospectively, that is, to control patients before, during and after treatment.

The result was the discovery that the Familia Bolsa increases the rate of caring for beneficiaries by 7.8%.

Eat every day

The research, however, did not analyze what people do with money, that is, it does not detect exactly what factors in the lives of patients have been modified due to the Family Exchange and that the rate of healing has increased of the people.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by airborne bacteria, so wet, closed and poorly ventilated areas favor transmission.

The researchers hypothesis is that the revenue transfer program increases the rate of care through improved nutrition, since the benefit is not high enough (maximum R $ 372) to generate an improvement in the environment or other aspects of the environment. life

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Tuberculosis is an infectious disease transmitted by air.

"They are people in extreme poverty, that is, if they help them to eat better, or even eat every day, it makes a big difference," explains Maciel. "It is our main hypothesis, but we still have to prove".

Proper nutrition is important for the maintenance of general health and the immune system, which fights infectious agents.

Disordered disease

The World Health Organization officially classifies tuberculosis as "unhealthy disease", that is, it is part of the group of diseases that are of interest to the pharmaceutical industry and are therefore less investigated and received less investment

"Unattended diseases reach low income populations in developing countries and often have cheap treatments, so that fighting does not matter to the market," explains Maciel.

"The countries that make up the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), a block of developing countries, maintain 50% of the world's tuberculosis."

The research also links the distribution of tuberculosis with the AIDS epidemic, since the viral disease attacks the immune system and promotes the contraction of tuberculosis.

The WHO has a global project to fight against the disease, encouraging research on medication and treatments.

The group of researchers from UFES and the UFBA that published the research on the Family Lancet Exchange now intends to study the effects of other social programs in Brazil, such as Minha Casa, Minha Vida.

"Understanding exactly how diseases are related and poverty is essential for the planning of public policies in health as well as in economic areas," says Maciel.

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