Surmounting Barriers of Language and Law, Health Officials Align Efforts in TB Control

Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s

From 1994 to 1997, the County of San Diego, Department of Health Services used a combination of improved information systems, technical assistance, training and education to overcome barriers in treating tuberculosis along the US/Mexico border in San Diego County.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s national program.

Key Results:

  • The most important accomplishment was to encourage cooperation between health officials in the United States and in Mexico. Prior to this project, health officials responsible for TB in San Diego and in Tijuana had limited communication and no shared goals for the region. Now, officials from the two jurisdictions meet to discuss regional approaches to TB control.
  • The grantee established a bi-national TB referral system that acts as the hub for information flowing between California and Mexico. The referral system made it easier for TB patients crossing between Tijuana and San Diego to continue their treatment.
  • Supervised therapy, provided at the health clinic or at home, was well received by patients and significantly increased treatment completion rates.