Yunnan, a predominantly agricultural province in southwest China, is a province with a high rate of both tuberculosis (TB) and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB), with nearly 25,000 cases of pulmonary TB reported each year. Former TB/MDR TB patients in Yunnan, with the support of Family Health International 360 NGO (FHI) are trying to combat this problem. They have created a social media network for TB consultation and communication, 57 Zone, where TB patients can talk about their medication, adverse drug effects, and nutrition and psychosocial concerns. The goal of this study was the look at what aspects of the program help patients adhere to their TB treatment, as well as what participants feel are the greatest benefits of the program, and what they feel could be improved or changed. Then 57 Zone was compared to other TB support programs around the world in order to provide further suggestions for improvement. To collect information, four interviews were conducted with participants who all hold different roles in the program, including an employee of FHI, a nurse, and two peer-counselors. Participant observations at 57 Zone group meetings as well as informal conversations with online participants were also used to collect information. Results showed that the aspects of 57 Zone with the greatest benefit to participants are the in-person counseling opportunities, as well as the accessibility of the online QQ groups for peer-support. Suggested improvements or additions included better management of the QQ group, even more counseling opportunities, more counselors in hospitals, more financial aid opportunities, and expanding the program to other provinces. Overall this study has found that while there are some suggestions for improvements, this program has shown great success and has contributed to the lower rates of TB in Yunnan by helping patients truly understand their disease, as well as by making them more confident to finish their treatment. With more research and continued improvement, this program could become a model for future patient-support programs around the world.
Asian Studies | Communication Technology and New Media | Community-Based Learning | Diseases | Health and Physical Education | Health Communication | Health Information Technology | Health Policy | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion
Medaris, India, "A Review of 57 Zone: A social media network for TB consultation and communication in Kunming, China" (2017). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 2644.
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