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Biosci Trends. 2011 Dec;5(6):226-30.

The rural-to-urban migrant population in China: gloomy prospects for tuberculosis control.

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Institute of Social Medicine and Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Shandong University, Ji'nan, China.


The migrant population is a population with a high risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection and transmission. Globally, migration is likely to have a significant impact on TB epidemiology, particularly in countries that receive substantial numbers of migrants from countries with a high infection burden. China, a country with the world's second highest TB burden, faces a considerable increase in the number of rural-to-urban migrants. This population has a significant impact on urban TB epidemics and is specifically targeted by national guidelines for TB control. TB control among the migrant population has had relatively poor outcomes. Barriers to detection and treatment have both financial and non-financial aspects, such as the "migratory" nature of the migrant population, their marginalized working and living environment, poor financial status, little awareness of TB, inadequate referral to TB dispensaries, and potential social stigma in the workplace. Currently, the free TB treatment policy has limited ability to relieve the financial burden on most migrant TB patients as would allow optimal outcomes of TB detection and treatment. Universal health insurance coverage and fostering of personnel in community-based primary health care for the rural-to- urban migrant population represent two pillars of successful TB control.

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