Attitudes and knowledge of newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients regarding the disease, and factors affecting treatment compliance
OBJECTIVES: To determine patients' attitudes to tuberculosis and their knowledge of the disease, and factors associated with treatment compliance.
DESIGN: All adult patients commenced on treatment for tuberculosis from September 1994 to February 1996 were interviewed on initiation of treatment. To assess patient compliance with treatment, hospital clinical records were reviewed retrospectively.
RESULTS: A total of 135 patients with a mean age (±SD) of 41.9 (±17.4) years (range 15–84 years) were interviewed. The patients had limited understanding and knowledge about tuberculosis. There was a negative correlation between patient age and tuberculosis knowledge score (r = −0.18, P = 0.038). Patients with tertiary education had better knowledge than the others. Of 118 patients who were followed-up in our chest clinic, 80 (67.8%) completed the prescribed treatment. Compliance with treatment and follow-up was not affected by age, sex, ethnic group, educational level, occupation, extent of knowledge, tuberculosis symptoms, hospitalisation for tuberculosis or duration of the prescribed treatment regimen. There was a trend toward poorer compliance among patients who equated disappearance of tuberculosis symptoms with cure of the disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Malaysian patients with newly diagnosed tuberculosis attending a university teaching hospital had misconceptions and limited knowledge about the disease and its treatment. Educational background was an important determinant of a patient's level of knowledge about tuberculosis. Compliance was not affected by patient characteristics. Adequate counselling and education of patients and close relatives on tuberculosis and the necessity for prolonged treatment may help to improve treatment compliance.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Publication date: April 1, 1999
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