Health seeking behavior, practices of TB and access to health care among TB patients in Machakos County, Kenya. A cross-sectional study

Kasusu A. Mutinda, Ephantus W. Kabiru, Peter .K. Mwaniki


Despite efforts to implementation of the DOTS programme in Kenya since the year (1993) and achieving 100% coverage by the year 1996; new TB cases continue to emerge in communities, a significance of TB transmission. The success of the DOTS programne require total adherence to treatment for those infected with TB and appropriate control measures as stipulated in TB treatment guidelines, trained manpower to manage the infected patients and surveillance. The main objective of this study was to examine the health seeking behavior of TB patients, practices of TB and access to health care. A cross- sectional survey of TB patients was done in Athi-River, Machakos level 5 and Mutituni TB treatment health facilities in Machakos County. A pre-tested self administered questionnaire/ interviews was used to collect data. The data was analyzed by use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 16. Pearson Chi-Square analysis was used to determine the relationships between variables. Level of significance was fixed at 0.05 (p=0.05).The results of this study reveal TB is affecting  more males than females (60.4%).Most of the TB patients are young below 40 years accounting for (71.8%),  are poor and unemployed (65%).When the TB patient realized they were sick, most of them (81.4%) sought informal remedies from private practioners or self medicated. This delayed early opportunity to seek heath care for more than one month by (82%) of the respondents. Failure of the informal treatment and unbearable pains in advanced disease forced the majority (96.8%) to seek health care in designated TB treatment facilities. There is secrecy in TB status disclosure as (75.5%) declined to openly disclose. For those who disclosed (78%) was to a selected family member mainly to seek assistance (90.7%). Across age groups, educational level, marital status, disclosure of TB status was of no statistical significance p=0.462 and openness of status p=0.112 respectively as the majority remained secret. Health education received by (52.8%) in the TB clinics was observed to significantly influence clinic attendance p=0.014 and adherence to treatment p=0.008 as 78.5% attended regularly and 85.5% adhered respectively. Treatment in public facilities is free with the majority (89.9%) reporting attendance.  TB patients care in the community is  mainly by family members (74.8%), there is no follow up by heath workers and social support group is minimal at (11.4%).The ministry of health needs to address  control measures by initiating strict surveillance of TB, initiate community education on best practices of  TB and to distigmatize the disease.

Key words

Health seeking behavior of TB patients, practices of TB and access to health care in Machakos County

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