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Lung India. 2012 Apr;29(2):120-2. doi: 10.4103/0970-2113.95302.

Gender differences in notification rates, clinical forms and treatment outcome of tuberculosis patients under the RNTCP.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, RG Kar Medical College and Hospitals, Kolkata, India.



An increased notification rate of tuberculosis (TB) in men is seen in the SAARC region. In India, the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) detects nearly three times more male than female TB patients. Gender differences have also been reported in the clinical forms of tuberculous disease and in treatment adherence and cure rates in patients undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. The present study was undertaken to find out the sex differences in the notification rates and treatment outcomes of TB patients registered under the RNTCP in a rural tuberculosis unit (TU) in West Bengal.


A retrospective record-based study was carried out among a total of 3605 cases registered under the RNTCP between January 1999 and June 2005. Notification rates of TB, clinical forms of TB and disease treatment outcomes recorded in the registers were analyzed based on genders. Outcomes were defined in accordance with the standard RNTCP definitions. The Z-test for proportion (for comparing differences in proportions), Student t-test (for comparing mean), and χ(2) test (to see association) were performed for statistical analysis.


Among the total of 3605 patients, 2498 (69.3%) were male and 1107 (30.7%) were female with a male female ratio of 2.25:1. In patients less than 20 years of age, the notification rates among males and females were similar. In the other age groups, males were more likely to be notified compared to females and the difference was statistically significant. While new smear positive and retreatment cases were significantly more than in males, among females, new smear negative and new extrapulmonary cases were significantly higher. Among the new smear positive patients 89.4% of females were cured compared to 85.8% of males which was again significant statistically (Z=1.70, P<0.05). Male patients outnumbered females in all the unfavorable outcomes like death, failure, and default although none of the differences were statistically significant (P>0.05).


The present study demonstrates a gender difference in the notification rates, clinical presentations and treatment outcomes of patients with tuberculosis. Integrated research is necessary to find the reasons for these differences. Such studies will be helpful in improving the efficacy of the RNTCP.


Gender; West Bengal; revised national tuberculosis control programme; tuberculosis

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