Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 173-177

Pattern and magnitude of treatment delay among TB patients in five states in southern Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Abia State University, Aba Campus, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria
2 German Leprosy and TB Relief Association, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, Abia State University, Aba Campus, Aba, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Onyeonoro U Uchenna
Department of Community Medicine, Abia State University, Aba Campus, Aba, Abia State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.98608

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Prompt diagnosis and early treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) cases is an important strategy in TB prevention and control. Thus, passive case finding of TB suspects, sputum examination for diagnosis, and prompt treatment using Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) are key elements in the national guideline for TB control programme. The aim of this study is to determine the time interval between diagnosis of smear-positive TB cases and the commencement of treatment in DOTS facilities in southern Nigeria. The study was carried out in 20 healthcare facilities supported by TB Control Assistance Program (TB-CAP) involved in TB management in southern Nigeria, which comprised tertiary, secondary, and primary healthcare facilities including public and private facilities. Data were collected through review of clients' and facility records covering July-September 2009. Data collected were sociodemographic characteristics, sputum-smear result, date of diagnosis, and date of commencement of treatment. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 15.0 software. Of the total 2,507 TB suspects examined for Acid-Fast Bacillus (AFB), 323 were diagnosed to be Sputum-Smear-Positive (SS+ve), However, 269 new smear positive cases were commenced on treatment within the period, thus 54 (17.0%) of the new SS+ve cases defaulted initially. One hundred and two (38%) of them commenced TB treatment within 3 days of smear examination for diagnosis, while 59 (22%) commenced 4-6 days after diagnosis. The study revealed significant delay in commencement of TB treatment for most new smear positive TB cases in southern Nigeria and underlines the need to further explore factors responsible for delay in commencement of TB treatment following diagnosis.

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