Free Content Delay in tuberculosis case-finding and treatment in Mwanza, Tanzania

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Abstract:

SETTING: Health facilities in Mwanza region, Tanzania.

OBJECTIVE: To determine factors responsible for delay from onset of symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis to initiation of treatment.

DESIGN: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSION: 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.

Keywords: Tanzania; case-finding; delay; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania; and Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway 2: Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; and Institute of Medicine, Division Deaconess Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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