Community knowledge, attitude, and practices towards tuberculosis in Shinile town, Somali regional state, eastern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

Daniel Tolossa, Girmay Medhin, Mengistu Legesse
BMC Public Health 2014, 14: 804

BACKGROUND: Though tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable, its global burden remains enormous. Similarly, TB is one of the major public health problems in Ethiopia, particularly in geographically isolated areas like Shinile town. The people in Shinile town, Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, are underserved in all forms of health care and suffer from high burden of TB. Low level of knowledge about TB could affect the health-seeking behavior of patients and sustain the transmission of the disease within the community. Therefore, the current study was undertaken in Shinile town with the objective of assessing communities' knowledge, attitude and practices towards TB.

METHODS: Community-based cross-sectional survey, involving 410 randomly selected individuals, was conducted in Shinile town from January to May, 2013. Data were analyzed using STATA V.11. Logistic regression technique was used to determine the association between socio-demographic characteristics and communities' knowledge of TB.

RESULTS: While 94.9% of the respondents said that they ever heard about TB, only 22.9% knew that TB is caused by bacteria. Eighty percent have awareness that TB can be transmitted from a patient to another person and 79.3% know that transmission of TB can be preventable. Persistence cough (72.4%) was the most commonly stated symptom of TB and modern drugs used in health institutions (68.1%) was the preferred choice of treatment. Two hundred and ninety one respondents (71.0%) said that they would seek treatment at health facility if they realized that they had symptoms related to TB. Two hundred and twenty seven respondents (55.4%) considered TB as a very serious disease and 284 (69.3%) would experience fear if they themselves had TB. Individuals with educational level of grade 8 up to grade 12 had increased odds of having good level of overall TB knowledge compared to illiterate individuals (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.6).

CONCLUSION: The communities in Shinile town have basic awareness about TB which is not translated into the knowledge about the cause of the disease. Therefore, health education directed towards bringing a significant change in the knowledge of TB must be stepped-up within the TB control program.

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