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TB diagnostic time intervals and related expenditures in selected health centres in Addisababa, Ethiopia

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Document pages: 12 pages

Abstract: Despite the efforts made in improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention, TB is still a major health problem in the world. It affects millions of people every year and is the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases in the world. Early detection of cases and timely start of treatment are very important to ensure effective control of the disease, because late diagnosis and treatment will aggravate the disease, lead to adverse consequences and increase the chance of transmission. Although TB services should be provided free of charge, families affected by TB will have different types of costs in the course of seeking treatment, which may include health and non health related costs. TB planning needs to identify potential factors for delay and related expenditureure for TB related services, in order to devise an effective strategy to reduce them. Therefore, the study aimed to assess the time interval between developing TB symptom until patients start anti-TB treatment and associated cost incurred by patients and families. Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted among pulmonary TB patients who are bacteriologically confirmed, whose age is above 15 years and diagnosed at health centres in Addis Ababa. Results. The median time interval between onset of symptom and commencement of treatment was 4 weeks (IQR: 3, 6). Most patients with TB symptoms visited several health facilities before the final diagnosis was confirmed, the median number of visits being two, and only 48.8 were diagnosed on their first visit. Hence, they spent a lot of their limited resource in search of getting the right diagnosis. The total combined expenditure for all the visits was estimated to be median (IQR) 172.65 birrs (12, 671). Two variables were found to show statistically significant association with higher expenditure. Respondents who have good level of knowledge about TB are less likely to spend more than the median expenditure almost by a fifth compared to those with limited knowledge on TB, (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.2, with 95 confidence interval (CI): 0.06, 0.84). Patients who visited public hospitals were almost three times and those who visited private health facilities almost four times more likely to pay more than the median total expenditure, compared to those who visited health centre, AOR (95 CI) = 2.8 (1.53, 5.19) and AOR (CI) of 3.86 (1.06, 14.03), respectively. Conclusion. Patients with TB symptoms visit several health facilities till they are diagnosed, the median duration from onset of symptom till commencement of TB treatment being 4 weeks. It was noted that they face major expenses in the process of navigation to the right care. Two variables had statistically significant association with high pre-diagnosis expenditure, where patients with good level of knowledge about TB are less likely to spend more than the median, while patients who visited public hospitals or private health facilities had very high expenses. Improved public awareness about TB, minimizing service charges and other related fees, and further improvement in increasing access to services could reduce the length of time and expense for TB patients and their families. It is recommended to build capacity of health service providers to update them on programmatic approaches and latest diagnostic algorithm. It is important to strengthen public private partnership for TB services.

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