The major objective of the study was to determine whether TB patients are knowledgeable about the disease. Other objectives included to determine the percentage of TB patients who ever received pre-treatment counselling before initiation of treatment, to describe the demographic features of patients recruited, to correlate the level of education with the patients’ knowledge of the disease, to determine the prevalence of the various symptoms of TB known to the patients, to identify some of the factors leading to failure to complete treatment, to suggest ways of improving the efficiency of pretreatment education of TB patients and to bridge the gaps in knowledge attitude and practice (KAP).METHODOLOGY: A crossectional study of patients with tuberculosis was done in Mulago Hospital. Seventy patients aged 15 years and above were consecutively recruited into the study. Their files were retrieved to ascertain the diagnosis of tuberculosis and the following information was obtained:1.Demographic variables like age, sex and level of education.2.Patients’ knowledge on symptoms, medication, side effects of drugs and duration of treatment.3. Number of patients who had ever received pre-treatment counselling /health education prior to treatment.
There was only 1.4% of the patients who were knowledgeable about the disease. Pre-treatment counselling/health education was received before initiating treatment by only 21.4% of the patients recruited. Most patients (95.7%) did not know the cause of TB. The commonest symptom known by the patients was cough and this contributed to 51.5% of the patients recruited.
Pretreatment health education of TB patients is very low and needs to be addressed.CLINICAL IMPLICATION: There is a likely hood of not attaining the WHO recommended cure rate of 85% and detection rate of 70% of existing smear positive cases if the health workers do not avail any education to TB patients/ general population about the disease and we are likely to see an increased number of defaulters and development of resistance to the drugs.
I.C. Charles, GLRA, Grant monies.