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Free Content Knowledge of disease and treatment among tuberculosis patients in Mwanza, Tanzania

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SETTING: A health care facility based study in a rural and urban setting in Mwanza region, Tanzania.

OBJECTIVE: To determine patients' general knowledge of tuberculosis (TB) and the management of the disease.

DESIGN: From 7 May to 7 July 1998, 296 pulmonary tuberculosis patients were consecutively interviewed. The majority of the respondents (89%) were out-patients. Questions were based on Tanzanian National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) treatment guidelines for teaching tuberculosis patients.

RESULTS: When correct answers to five out of seven questions asked was regarded as satisfactory knowledge, only 30% of the study population had satisfactory knowledge of disease and treatment. Persons with information on TB prior to diagnosis and those with higher education were more likely to have satisfactory knowledge (OR 9.23 and 19.93; 95%CI 2.77–31.08 and 5.74–69.19, respectively). There was a negative correlation between the level of knowledge and patients' age (−r = 0.181, P = 0.01). Knowledge was not significantly affected by sex or area of residence. The two most important sources of information about TB were health workers and former TB patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Using NTP guidelines as reference, a substantial number of patients interviewed in health facilities in the study period had an unsatisfactory knowledge of TB disease and its management. The study did identify factors associated with satisfactory knowledge that could assist in designing health education intervention strategies.

Keywords: Tanzania; knowledge; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania 2: Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; and Department of Thoracic Medicine, Haukeland Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Publication date: November 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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