Romania has the highest prevalence of tuberculosis in Europe. Donal Bradley went to a clinic in Iasi to find out more.
Before visiting Romania I knew the country had problems with tuberculosis. In 2007 Romania had 27 000 confirmed cases of tuberculosis. The United Kingdom, a country with three times the population, had only 7000 cases.1 When I went there on a placement, I was eager to see at firsthand the effects of an illness that is rare in much of the developed world. During my stay, I was often shocked by the social and physical consequences of the disease for patients.
I visited the tuberculosis dispensary in the city of Iasi. It is an outpatient department that patients are referred to if they are suspected of having tuberculosis, or for follow-up.
Tuberculosis is a disease synonymous with poverty and many patients at the dispensary were homeless, alcoholic, or both. I learnt that the greatest obstacle to effective management of the disease is poor patient adherence to the prescribed drugs. A lack