Background: Most tuberculosis (TB) patients are not visiting heath facilities and hence transmit disease to healthy individuals in the community for a longer time in Ethiopia. This study was, therefore, aimed at estimating the duration of delay for initiation of anti-TB treatment in Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital (HFSUH) and assessing its determinants factors associated with unacceptable delay for medication.
Methods: Facility based cross sectional study was conducted in HFSUH from March 1-May 30, 2016. Convenient sampling was employed to select eligible patients who avail on time of data collection. Data was collected prospectively from 280 TB patients aged 15 years and above and who attended to the hospital using a face to face interview with a predetermined set of questions. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16. Finally, cross tabulation and Pearson chi-square test were employed for comparison of categorical variables.
Results: A large number of extra pulmonary and smear negative pulmonary TB patients delayed more than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended periods before taking medications. Amongst all TB patients interviewed, half (50%) of them sought treatment after WHO recommended periods (21 days). Fortunately, the median patient delay was found to be the same with WHO cut off point in this study. According to the study, the major reasons for patient delay were related to assuming symptoms are not severe (58%) followed by lack of money (32%) and health facility too far (6%). Moreover, educational status, occupation and residence were among major predictors of patient delay (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Poor knowledge of TB signs and symptoms and patients' beliefs about curses as the origin of diseases lead to delaying care-seeking at the hospital level in an area of eastern Ethiopia. These infectious TB cases are transmitting the disease to their families and in the wider community making prevention and control difficult. Those living in the rural area, illiterate and distant from health care settings suffer from TB long time and at the same time transmit the disease in the community.