Defining the research agenda to measure and reduce tuberculosis stigmas
Macintyre, Kate; Bakker, Mirjam Irene; Bergson, Susan; Bhavaraju, Rajita; Bond, Virginia PhD; Chikovore, Jeremiah; Colvin, Charlotte; Craig, Gill; Daftary, Amrita; Engel, Nora; Ferris France, Nadine; Jaramillo, Ernesto MD; Kimerling, Michael; Kipp, Aaron M; Krishnaratne, Shari; Mergenthaler, Christina Jane; Lim, Hyeyoung; Ngicho, Millicent; Redwood, Lisa; Rood, Ente; Smyth, Caoimhe; Sommerland, Nina; Stangl, Anne; Van Rie, Annelies; Sahu, Suvanand; Van Brakel, Win; Wouters, Edwin; Zwerling, Alice; Mitchell, Ellen M. H.; Cremers, Lianne
Crucial to finding and treating the 4 million tuberculosis (TB) patients currently missed by National TB Programs, TB stigma is receiving well-deserved and long-delayed attention at the global level. However, the ability to measure and evaluate the success of TB stigma reduction efforts is limited by the need for additional tools. At a 2016 TB stigma measurement meeting held in The Hague, stigma experts discussed and proposed a research agenda around four themes: (1) Drivers: What are the main drivers and domains of TB stigma(s)?; (2) Consequences: How consequential are TB stigmas? How are negative impacts most felt?; (3) Burden: What is the global prevalence and distribution of TB stigma(s)? What explains any variation? (4): Intervention: What can be done to reduce the extent and impact of TB stigma(s)? Each theme was further subdivided into research topics to be addressed to move the agenda forward. These include more clarity on what causes TB stigmas to emerge and thrive, the difficulty of measuring the complexity of stigma, and the improbability of a universal stigma ‘cure’. Notwithstanding, these challenges should not hinder investments in TB stigma measurement and reduction. We believe it is time to focus on how and not whether the global community should measure and reduce TB stigma.