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Knowledge and awareness of tuberculosis among Roma population in Belgrade: a qualitative study

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-284

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The focus-group method was considered to be appropriate for investigating knowledge and beliefs about TB. A total of 24 Roma people aged 19-55 years participated in three focus-group discussions.All participants knew that TB was a pulmonary disease and could be contagious. Saliva was the most commonly mentioned mode of transmission. Some individuals thought, albeit hesitantly, that TB could be transmitted by shaking hands with an infected individual. Of factors contributing to TB, participants mentioned bad living conditions, low quality and lack of food, and stress. Participants quoted chest pain, cough, haemoptysis, loss of appetite, loss of weight, weakness and sweating as basic symptoms of TB. Participants believed that effective treatment should include resting, taking prescribed medicines, inhaling fresh air and eating "strong" food such as bacon and pork; these approaches were considered as important as taking antibiotics). In addition, participants mentioned that they use some folk medicines.Relatives and friends, and to a lesser extent television, were the main sources of information about TB. Participants most appreciate personal contact with doctors as a source of information.We concluded that participants were aware of the seriousness TB as well as some of the modes of transmission; however, they had some misconceptions. An important finding was the confidence in doctors expressed by the Roma people.Tuberculosis (TB) remains an important health problem in Serbia. There has been no reduction in the incidence from 1994 to 2004; the incidence in 1994 was 34 per 100,000 and in 2004 it was 35 per 100,000 inhabitants. Age-standardized mortality rate in 2004 was 2.45 per 100 000 inhabitants. Researchers also reported an increased mortality rate in the period 1982-1996, probably caused by poor economic conditions and migration from war zones [1]. Research conducted in some marginalized ethnic groups suggests that being a member of a minority ethnic group can be


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