Treatment seeking behaviour of smear-positive tuberculosis patients diagnosed in Burkina Faso

M Ouédraogo, S Kouanda, K Boncoungou, M Dembélé, Z A Zoubga, S M Ouédraogo, G Coulibaly
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2006, 10 (2): 184-7

SETTING: Yalgado Ouedraogo University Health Centre and National Tuberculosis Centre, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

OBJECTIVE: To identify causes and circumstances leading to delays in the diagnosis of sputum-positive tuberculosis (TB).

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study conducted between October and December 2001. Data were collected on reasons for consulting and admission to hospital, health units visited and diagnoses.

RESULTS: Before obtaining a diagnosis, 24.5% of patients had visited a public health unit, 31% had visited a private health unit, 31% had treated themselves and 6% had visited a traditional healer. In total, 16% of visits to the National Tuberculosis Centre and the Yalgado Ouedraogo University Health Centre were initiated by the patients themselves, 43% by a relative and 41% by a health worker. The average delay to diagnosis was 4 months. Only 24.5% of patients had undergone smear microscopy compared to 44.2% who had undergone chest X-ray. The majority of patients came from the outskirts of Ouagadougou.

CONCLUSION: Delays in TB diagnosis seem to be due to the lack of awareness of patients and the incompetence of some health workers. Training and supervision of staff and TB information campaigns targeted at the population (transmission, symptoms and treatment) will improve TB control in Burkina Faso.

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