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Barriers to Completing TB Diagnosis in Yemen: Services Should Respond to Patients' Needs

Anderson de Cuevas, Rachel, Al-Sonboli, Najla, Al-Aghbari, Nasher, Yassin, Mohammed A., Cuevas, Luis ORCID: and Theobald, Sally ORCID: (2014) 'Barriers to Completing TB Diagnosis in Yemen: Services Should Respond to Patients' Needs'. PLoS ONE, Vol 9, Issue 9, e105194.

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Objectives and Background
Obtaining a diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is a prerequisite for accessing specific treatment, yet one third of estimated new cases are missed worldwide by National Programmes. This study investigated economic, geographical, socio-cultural and health system factors hindering adults' attendance and completion of the TB diagnostic process in Yemen, to inform interventions designed to improve patient access to services.

The study employed a mixed methods design comprising a cross-sectional survey and In-Depth-Interviews (IDIs) and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) among patients abandoning the diagnosis or registering for treatment. Adults with cough of ≥2 weeks attending a large governmental referral centre in Sana'a, Yemen, between 2009 and 2010, were eligible to participate.

497 and 446 (89.7%) participants were surveyed the first and second day of attending the services and 48 IDIs and 12 FGDs were also conducted. The majority of patients were disadvantaged and had poor literacy (61% illiterate), had travelled from rural areas (47%) and attended with companions (84%). Key barriers for attendance identified were clinic and transport costs (augmented by companions), distance from home, a preference for private services, strong social stigma and a lack of understanding of the diagnostic process. There were discrepancies between patient- and doctor-reported diagnosis and 46% of patients were unaware that TB treatment is free. Females faced more difficulties to attend than men. The laboratory practice of providing first-day negative smear results and making referrals to the private sector also discouraged patients from returning. Strategies to bring TB diagnostic services closer to communities and address the multiple barriers patients face to attend, will be important to increase access to TB diagnosis and care.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > Health Services. Patients and Patient Advocacy > W 85 Patients. Attitude and compliance
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WF Respiratory System > Tuberculosis > WF 220 Diagnosis. Prognosis
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Martin Chapman
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 15:30
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2020 13:09


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