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Ghana Med J. 2012 Dec;46(4):211-8.

The feelings and experiences of patients with tuberculosis in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan district: implications for TB control efforts.

Author information

1
Communicable Diseases Unit, Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital, P. O. Box 229, Sekondi, Ghana. eadodor@hotmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To explore the feelings and experiences of TB patients, and to highlight how TB stigma may affect case finding and compliance with treatment.

DESIGN:

Qualitative research approach using focus groups and individual interviews.

SETTING:

Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan district, Ghana.

PARTICIPANTS:

Purposeful selection of TB patients receiving TB at four government hospitals in the district.

INTERVENTION:

None.

RESULTS:

Because of TB stigma, majority of the patients failed to recognise their symptoms as due to TB, and attributed it to malaria and ordinary cough. They reported to the hospital only after prolonged period of self-medication in the community, with some indicating multiple visits before a diagnosis was made. When diagnosed, some were worried and cried, questioned how they got the disease, contemplated committing suicide, and others doubted it was TB. Most of them hid the diagnosis from others, and were isolated within the family and community.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most TB patients failed to recognize their symptoms as due to TB, because of the stigma attached to the disease in society. The way people treat those with TB, especially close contacts is also a source of worry to the patients. This may lead to delay in reporting to the hospital and consequently increase mortality from the disease. It may also make it difficult for the patients to comply with the long duration of TB treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Ghana; TB patients; TB stigma; tuberculosis

PMID:
23661839
PMCID:
PMC3645176
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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