Strategies to reach and motivate migrant communities at high risk for TB to participate in a latent tuberculosis infection screening program: A community-engaged, mixed methods study among Eritreans

Ineke Spruijt, Dawit Tesfay Haile, Connie Erkens, Susan van den Hof, Simone Goosen, Andrea ten Kate, Hewan Teshome, Marja Karels, Marga Koenders, Jeanine Suurmond

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Background: In the Netherlands, migrant populations with a high tuberculosis (TB) incidence are an important target group for TB prevention. However, there is a lack of insight in effective community-engaged strategies to reach and motivate these migrants to participate in latent TB infection (LTBI) screening and treatment programs. Methods: In cocreation with Eritrean key figures and TB staff, we designed and executed six strategies to reach and motivate Eritrean communities to participate in LTBI programs, in five regions in the Netherlands. We registered participation in LTBI education and screening, and LTBI treatment uptake and completion. We used semi-structured group and individual interviews with Eritrean participants, key figures, and TB staff to identify facilitators and barriers. Results: Uptake of LTBI education (13-75%) and consequent screening (10-124%) varied between strategies. LTBI screening uptake > 100% resulted from educated participants motivating others to participate in screening. Two strategies, using face-to-face promotion and targeting smaller groups, were the most successful. The program resulted in high LTBI treatment initiation and completion (both 97%). Reported program barriers included: Competing priorities in the target group, perceived good health, poor risk perception, and scepticism towards the program purpose. TB staff perceived the program as useful but demanding in terms of human resources. Conclusions: Eritrean migrant communities can be successfully reached and motivated for LTBI screening and treatment programs, when sufficient (human) resources are in place and community members, well-connected to and trusted by the community, are engaged in the design and execution of the program.
Original languageEnglish
Article number315
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020


  • Community-engaged
  • Eritreans
  • LTBI
  • Latent tuberculosis infection
  • Migrants
  • Refugees
  • Screening
  • Tuberculosis

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