JOURNAL ARTICLE

The magnitude and factors associated with delays in management of smear positive tuberculosis in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Sayoki G Mfinanga, Beatrice K Mutayoba, Amos Kahwa, Godfather Kimaro, Rugola Mtandu, Esther Ngadaya, Said Egwaga, Andrew Y Kitua
BMC Health Services Research 2008, 8: 158
18655730

OBJECTIVE: To assess the magnitude and factors responsible for delay in TB management.

DESIGN: A cross sectional hospital based survey in Dar es Salaam region, May 2006.

RESULTS: We interviewed 639 TB patients. A total of 78.4% of patients had good knowledge on TB transmission. Only 35.9% had good knowledge on the symptoms. Patient delay was observed in 35.1% of the patients, with significantly (X2 = 5.49, d.f. = 1, P = 0.019) high proportion in females (41.0%) than in males (31.5%). Diagnosis delay was observed in 52.9% of the patients, with significantly (X2 = 10.1, d.f. = 1, P = 0.001) high proportion in females (62.1%) than in males (47.0%). Treatment delay was observed in 34.4% of patients with no significant differences among males and females. Several risk factors were significantly associated with patient's delays in females but not in males. The factors included not recognizing the following as TB symptoms: night sweat (OR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.20, 3.05), chest pain (OR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.1, 2.37), weight loss (OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.03, 2.32), and coughing blood (OR = 1.47, 95% CI 1.01, 2.16). Other factors included: living more than 5 Km from a health facility (OR = 2.24, 95% CI 1.41, 3.55), no primary education (OR = 1.74, 95% CI 1.01, 3.05) and no employment (OR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.20, 2.60). In multiple logistic regression, five factors were more significant in females (OR = 2.22, 95% CI 1.14, 4.31) than in males (OR = 0.70, 95% CI 0.44, 1.11). These factors included not knowing that night sweat and chest pain are TB symptoms, a belief that TB is always associated with HIV infection, no employment and living far from a health facility.

CONCLUSION: There were significant delays in the management of TB patients which were contributed by both patients and health facilities. However, delays in most of patients were due to delay of diagnosis and treatment in health facilities. The delays at all levels were more common in females than males. This indicates the need for education targeting health seeking behaviour and improvement in health system.

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