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Glob Health Gov. 2010 Spring;3(2):1-20. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Control of Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB): A Root Cause Analysis.

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Associate Professor at Yale University Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Law (Adjunct) and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


The threat of global infectious agents has the potential to cripple national and global economies, as the outbreaks of SARS, Avian Flu, H1N1, and XDR-TB have demonstrated. This article offers a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) of one public health case study - the Speaker case of XDR-TB - pinpointing the underlying causal relationships associated with this global health incident and proposing recommendations for preventing its recurrence. An RCA approach identifies corrective actions directed at the root causes of the problem and advances them as necessary to eliminate global contagion with its major international public health risks. To my knowledge, this is the first root cause analysis of a global health problem. The reform this article proposes would be to add a standardized procedure akin to the informed consent process in clinical ethics, but within a shared health governance framework. This approach, addressing infectious agents at their origins or source, is potentially a more effective strategy to reduce uncertainty and avert global health threats.

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