To quantify the socio-economic impact of tuberculosis on patients and their families from the costs incurred by patients in rural and urban areas..
An detailed interview based upon the prepared questionnaire was taken to collect socio-economic demographic characteristics, employment, income particulars, expenditure on illness and effects on children from newly detected sputum-positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients. The direct and indirect costs including money spent on diagnosis, drugs, investigations, travel and loss of wages. Total costs were projected for the entire 6 months of treatment.
The study population consisted of 200 patients (reporting at Chest & T.B. Hospital, Amritsar), 80 of whom were females. Mean direct cost was Rs. 1824/-, indirect Rs. 4129/- and total cost was Rs. 5953/-. The mean number of work days lost was 88 and mean debts totaled Rs. 2214/-. Both rural and urban female patients faced rejection by their families (8%). Twelve percent of schoolchildren discontinued their studies, an additional 7% took up employment to support their family.
The total costs, and particularly indirect costs due to TB, were relatively high. The average period of loss of wages was 3 months. Care giving activities of female patients decreased significantly, and a 12% of schoolchildren discontinued their studies.
These studies may be useful in eradicating social stigmas like rejection of tubercular patients in the society .Health education may help students to continue their studies in the school.
N. Chand, None.