JOURNAL ARTICLE

Total delay in treatment among smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients in five primary health centers, southern Ethiopia: a cross sectional study

Anteneh Asefa, Wondu Teshome
PloS One 2014, 9 (7): e102884
25048601

INTRODUCTION: The global burden of Tuberculosis (TB) remains enormous. Delay in TB diagnosis may lead to a higher infectious pool in the community and a more advanced disease state at presentation increasing the risk of mortality. This study is conducted to determine the total delay before treatment among smear positive Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) patients.

METHODS: A health institution based cross sectional study was conducted in five primary health centers in southern Ethiopia from June to December 2012. A total of 328 smear positive PTB patients were enrolled in the study. A structured and pre-tested questionnaire was used. Median patient, diagnostic, and treatment delays were calculated to determine the total delay. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with total delay.

RESULTS: The median patient, diagnostic, treatment and total delays measured in days were 30 (IQR 20.2, 60), 7 (IQR: 3, 14), 3 (IQR: 1, 4) and 45 (IQR: 34.5, 69.5) days respectively. Patients for whom treatment was not initiated within 45 days of onset of symptom(s) (total delay) constituted 49% of the study participants (59.5% among males and 39.2% among females; P<0.001). Total delay was found to be associated with: being female [AOR  = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.18-0.62], having attended tertiary level education [AOR  = 0.11, 95% CI: 0.02-0.55], perceived severity of stigma during the current TB disease course [AOR = 2. 18, 95% CI: 1.07, 4.42] and living in houses with higher family size [AOR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.61].

CONCLUSION: Total delay in treatment of TB is still high in the study area. Patient's sex, perceived stigma, educational status and family size are significantly contributing for total delay. Therefore, a concerted effort should be taken in order to improve health seeking behavior of the community on TB and to reduce delays from seeking care after experiencing TB symptoms.

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