Tuberculosis in Romania: a devastating revival of a destructive disease
Tuberculosis is a major threat to the health of Romania's people, with an incidence of more than 10 times that of western European countries. In the lead up to World TB Day 2003 on the 24 March, Alice Scriven describes some aspects of the tuberculosis problem in this changing European country
I spent two months on an ERASMUS programme learning about aspects of health and health care in Romania's capital, Bucharest. My first day in the Institute of Pneumology was something of an initiation, due to it being a saint's day, with undeniably stylish celebrations. By 11 am, the mess-office-changing room (an all purpose space with broken chairs and huge grey lockers) was full of cakes and bottles of beer, and an hour later the room smelt strongly of alcohol and tobacco. A Romanian doctor joked that it smelt like an English pub, and I had to agree. After the second day, I realised that the party had been a one off, and not the average coffee break. Although the celebrations demonstrated the Romanian sociability and joviality, the day to day activities of the hospital were very different.
The predominant health problem treated in this hospital is tuberculosis. It is a