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Free Content Health seeking and knowledge about tuberculosis among persons with pulmonary symptoms and tuberculosis cases in Bangalore slums

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SETTING: Bangalore city slums, India.

OBJECTIVES: To ascertain 1) health-seeking behaviour patterns in persons with pulmonary symptoms; 2) pathways followed by pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases until diagnosis and treatment; and 3) their knowledge about TB—symptoms, cause, mode of transmission, diagnosis and treatment.

METHODS: In selected slums, persons with pulmonary symptoms identified during house visits and residents with PTB were interviewed using pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaires. Visits to relevant health centres were made to obtain information regarding their treatment.

RESULTS: About 50% of the 124 persons with pulmonary symptoms interviewed had taken action for relief; of these, three quarters had first approached private health facilities. About 19% had undergone sputum microscopy and 27% chest X-ray. Of 47 PTB cases interviewed, 72% first approached private health facilities; about 50% visited two health facilities before diagnosis and 87% visited two or more facilities before initiating treatment; 42 initiated treatment at government health facilities and five who initiated treatment at private health facilities were later referred to government health facilities. The majority of persons with pulmonary symptoms and PTB cases had poor knowledge about TB, and most of those with pulmonary symptoms were not aware of the availability of free anti-tuberculosis services at government health facilities.

CONCLUSION: Educational interventions targeted at slum dwellers and their health providers are needed.
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Keywords: India; health-seeking patterns; knowledge; pulmonary symptoms; slums; tuberculosis cases

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: National Tuberculosis Institute, Bangalore, India

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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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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