Article

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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