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Trade liberalization and tuberculosis incidence: a longitudinal multi-level analysis in 22 high burden countries between 1990 and 2010
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7234-3510
2014 (English)In: Health Policy and Planning, ISSN 0268-1080, E-ISSN 1460-2237, Vol. 29, no 3, 328-351 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND Trade liberalization is promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) through a complex architecture of binding trade agreements. This type of trade, however, has the potential to modify the upstream and proximate determinants of tuberculosis (TB) infection. We aimed to analyse the association between trade liberalization and TB incidence in 22 high-burden TB countries between 1990 and 2010. METHODS and findings A longitudinal multi-level linear regression analysis was performed using five different measures of trade liberalization as exposure [WTO membership, duration of membership, trade as % of gross domestic product, and components of both the Economic Freedom of the World Index (EFI4) and the KOF Index of Globalization (KOF1)]. We adjusted for a wide range of factors, including differences in human development index (HDI), income inequality, debts, polity patterns, conflict, overcrowding, population stage transition, health system financing, case detection rates and HIV prevalence.None of the five trade indicators was significantly associated with TB incidence in the crude analysis. Any positive effect of EFI4 on (Log-) TB incidence over time was confounded by differences in socio-economic development (HDI), HIV prevalence and health financing indicators. The adjusted TB incidence rate ratio of WTO member countries was significantly higher [RR: 1.60; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.12-2.29] when compared with non-member countries. CONCLUSION We found no association between specific aggregate indicators of trade liberalization and TB incidence. Our analyses provide evidence of a significant association between WTO membership and higher TB incidence, which suggests a possible conflict between the architecture of WTO agreements and TB-related Millennium Development Goals. Further research is needed, particularly on the relation between the aggregate trade indices used in this study and the hypothesized mediators and also on sector-specific indices, specific trade agreements and other (non-TB) health outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2014. Vol. 29, no 3, 328-351 p.
Keyword [en]
Globalization, social epidemiology, social determinants, tuberculosis, health systems research
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84575DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czt020ISI: 000336481000007PubMedID: 23595571OAI: diva2:685343
Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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