Socio-economic status and adherence to tuberculosis treatment: a case-control study in a district of Nepal

P Mishra, E H Hansen, S Sabroe, K K Kafle
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2005, 9 (10): 1134-9

SETTING: A western hill district in Nepal, where tuberculosis (TB) treatment under DOTS was offered by the regional tuberculosis centre, two primary health centres, eight health posts, three sub-health posts and one ward of sub-metropolitan Pokhara.

OBJECTIVE: To analyse the contribution of socioeconomic status to non-adherence to DOTS.

DESIGN: Case-control study. Data were collected by questionnaire-based face-to-face interviews. The study sample consisted of 50 cases and 100 controls. The participation rate was 80% for cases (non-adherents) and 95% for controls.

RESULTS: Logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of non-adherence to TB treatment was significantly associated with unemployment (odds ratio [OR] 9.2), low status occupation (OR 4.4), low annual income (OR 5.4), and cost of travel to the TB treatment facility (OR 3.0). Factors significant in the bivariate analyses--living conditions, literacy and difficulty in financing treatment--were not found to be significantly associated with non-adherence when adjusted for other risk factors in the multivariate regression model.

CONCLUSION: Low socio-economic status and particularly lack of money are important risk factors for non-adherence to TB treatment in a poor country such as Nepal.

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