Treatment seeking for symptoms suggestive of TB: comparison between migrants and permanent urban residents in Chongqing, China

Yang Wang, Qian Long, Qin Liu, Rachel Tolhurst, Shenglan Tang
Tropical Medicine & International Health 2008, 13 (7): 927-33

OBJECTIVES: To understand the health-seeking behaviour of rural-to-urban migrants with chronic cough in Chongqing city, and compare this with the permanent urban population taking into account the socioeconomic factors influencing delays in access to healthcare in urban China.

METHODS: Patient survey in 23 health facilities from different levels of two urban districts in Chongqing: 1005 tuberculosis (TB) suspects (229 rural-to-urban migrants and 776 permanent urban residents) were interviewed about socioeconomic status and service-seeking behaviours.

RESULTS: Migrants (67.7%) delayed treatment by more than 2 weeks, as did 54.0% of urban residents (P < 0.01). The reasons given by migrants for the delay in seeking care were lack of money and lack of perceived need for care. Female TB suspects, people without health insurance, those without sufficient knowledge of TB, without full-time employment and people with low incomes also experienced longer patient delay (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: To be more effective, TB control efforts need to be better accessible to the economically and socially vulnerable.

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