Perceptions of tuberculosis and treatment seeking behaviour in Ilala and Kinondoni Municipalities in Tanzania

A M Kilale, A K Mushi, L A Lema, J Kunda, C E Makasi, D Mwaseba, N S Range, G S Mfinanga
Tanzania Journal of Health Research 2008, 10 (2): 89-94
This study was carried out in Ilala and Kinondoni Municipalities in Tanzania to explore the perceptions of Tuberculosis (TB), and treatment seeking behaviour, among patients attending healthcare facilities. The study was conducted in four randomly selected health facilities providing directly observed treatment (DOT). Exit interviews were administered to 69 randomly selected TB patients. The mean age of the respondents was 33.2 years (range = 11-72 years). Forty-six (66.7%) of the patients had primary school education. Fifty-nine (84.1%) patients had good knowledge on the transmission of TB. Majority (75%) of the respondents were of the opinion that the incidence of TB was on the increase and this was mainly associated with HIV/AIDS epidemic. All respondents knew that TB was a curable disease if one complies with the treatment. Sixty-four (60%) respondents had good knowledge on the correct duration of tuberculosis treatment. The median duration before seeking treatment from a health facility was 1.5 months. The majority of the patients 47 (68%) visited public health facilities for treatment as their first action. Overall, 83.8% (57/68) respondents said females comply better with treatment than male patients. The majority of the respondents lived within a walking distance to a healthcare facility. Only 18.8% (13/69) had to spend an average of US$ 0.2-0.3 as travel costs to the healthcare facility. Most of the respondents (57.8%) said they were well attended by service providers. Half (21/42) and 59.3% (16/27) of the males and females, respectively, mentioned good patient-service provider relationship as an important reason for satisfaction of the service (chi2 = 0.57, df = 1, P > 0.005). Twenty-nine (42%) of respondents were of the opinion that female TB patients conformed better to treatment than males and a similar number thought that both of them equally conformed to treatment. Findings from this study indicate that a large population in urban settings are aware that health facilities play a major role in TB treatment. In conclusion, there is a need to further explore how this information could potentially be used to enhance early seeking of appropriate services among TB patients in the era of rapid urbanization. Strategies in the control of TB and other diseases should focus on advocacy in seeking appropriate care.

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