Delay in tuberculosis case-finding and treatment in Mwanza, Tanzania.
ABSTRACT Health facilities in Mwanza region, Tanzania.
To determine factors responsible for delay from onset of symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis to initiation of treatment.
A cross-sectional descriptive study of 296 smear-positive tuberculosis patients. Emphasis was given to periods between 1) onset of symptoms and first consultation to a health facility, and 2) reporting to a health facility and initiation of treatment.
Mean total delay was 185 days (median 136), with nearly 90% of this being patient's delay. The mean health system delay was 23 days (median 15), with longer delays in rural health facilities. The mean patient's delay was 162 days (median 120). This delay was significantly longer in rural areas, for patients with lower level of education, for those who first visited a traditional healer, and for patients who had no information on tuberculosis prior to diagnosis. Only 15% of the patients reported to a health facility within 30 days of onset of symptoms.
There are significant delays in case-finding in Mwanza, Tanzania, with prolonged patient's delay. Facilitation of utilisation of health services, raising awareness of the disease and incorporation of private practice into tuberculosis control could help to reduce these delays.
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ABSTRACT: Objectives. To measure delays from onset of symptoms to initiation of treatment in patients with smear-negative and smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis and to identify reasons for these delays. Methods. A total of 136 newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis patients were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Results. The patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 included 65 smear-negative patients. There were 71 smear-positive patients in group 2. The median application interval was 10 days in group 1 and 14 days in group 2. While 24.6% of the patients had patient delay in group 1, patient delay was present in 33.8% of the patients in group 2 (P > 0.05). The median health care system interval was 41 days in group 1 and 16 days in group 2 (P < 0.0001). The most common reason for patient delay was neglect of symptoms by patient in both groups. A low index of suspicion for tuberculosis by physicians was the most common reason for doctor delays. Conclusions. Delays are common problem in smear-negative and smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients. Delays should be reduced to reach an effective tuberculosis control. Education of public and physicians about tuberculosis is the most important effort to reduce delays.TheScientificWorldJournal. 01/2014; 2014:158186.