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Free Content Health care seeking among individuals with cough and tuberculosis: a population-based study from rural India

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SETTING: Ujjain district, Madhya Pradesh, India.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare health care seeking among men and women with cough of >3 weeks, with special focus on the utilisation of private and public health care.

DESIGN: A population-based cross-sectional survey including 45719 individuals aged ≥15 years.

RESULTS: The prevalence of cough was respectively 2.8% and 1.2% among men and women. The majority of men and women reported seeking health care for their symptoms (69% vs. 71%), but only 23% visited a public provider at some point during their illness. A similar health care seeking pattern was found for patients diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in our survey. No significant differences in health care seeking were found between men and women. Only 13% of those seeking care reported having had a sputum smear examination since the onset of cough. Factors associated with sputum examination were history of TB, haemoptysis and visiting a public provider.

CONCLUSION: The low utilisation of public health care services and the few sputum examinations reported in this rural Indian setting illustrate the need for improved diagnostic practices as well as involvement of private providers in TB control activities.

Keywords: India; TB; cough; gender; health care seeking

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of International Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden 2: Department of Community Medicine, R D Gardi Medical College, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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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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