Knowledge of disease and treatment among tuberculosis patients in Mwanza, Tanzania

E R Wandwalo, O Mørkve
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2000, 4 (11): 1041-6

SETTING: A health care facility based study in a rural and urban setting in Mwanza region, Tanzania.

OBJECTIVE: To determine patients' general knowledge of tuberculosis (TB) and the management of the disease.

DESIGN: From 7 May to 7 July 1998, 296 pulmonary tuberculosis patients were consecutively interviewed. The majority of the respondents (89%) were outpatients. Questions were based on Tanzanian National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) treatment guidelines for teaching tuberculosis patients.

RESULTS: When correct answers to five out of seven questions asked was regarded as satisfactory knowledge, only 30% of the study population had satisfactory knowledge of disease and treatment. Persons with information on TB prior to diagnosis and those with higher education were more likely to have satisfactory knowledge (OR 9.23 and 19.93; 95%CI 2.77-31.08 and 5.74-69.19, respectively). There was a negative correlation between the level of knowledge and patients' age (-r = 0.181, P = 0.01). Knowledge was not significantly affected by sex or area of residence. The two most important sources of information about TB were health workers and former TB patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Using NTP guidelines as reference, a substantial number of patients interviewed in health facilities in the study period had an unsatisfactory knowledge of TB disease and its management. The study did identify factors associated with satisfactory knowledge that could assist in designing health education intervention strategies.

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