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Coloring the white plague: a syndemic approach to immigrant tuberculosis in Canada.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22181967     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Objective. In this article, we adopt a syndemic approach to immigrant tuberculosis (TB) in Canada as a way of challenging contemporary epidemiological models of infectious diseases that tend to racialize and medicalize the risk of infections in socio-economically disadvantage populations and obscure the role of social conditions in sustaining the unequal distribution of diseases in these populations. Design. A syndemic approach unravels social and biological connections which shape the distribution of infections over space and time and is useful in de-racializing and de-medicalizing these epidemiologic models. The socio-historic framework allows us to examine social factors which, refracted through medical science, were central to the development of TB control in Canada at the beginning of twentieth century. Results. We expose the ideological assumptions about race, immigration, and social status which underpin current policies designed to control TB within the immigrant population. We argue that TB control policies which divert the attention from structural health determinants perpetuate health and social inequities of racialized populations in Canada. Medical screening and surveillance is an ineffective control policy because the proportion of TB cases attributed to immigrants increased from 18 to 66% between 1970 and 2007. Conclusion. More effective TB control policies require shifting the focus from the individual disease carriers toward social inequities which underlie the problem of immigrant TB in Canada. In addition, de-racialization and de-medicalization of the contemporary epidemiological models of infectious diseases entail an in-depth exploration of how the categories of ethnicity, culture, and immigration status are played out in everyday health-related experiences of racialized groups.
Authors:
Sylvia Reitmanova; Diana L Gustafson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-12-19
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ethnicity & health     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1465-3419     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-12-20     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9608374     Medline TA:  Ethn Health     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
a Division of Community Health & Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Health Sciences Centre , Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's , NL , A1B 3V6 , Canada.
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