Tuberculosis knowledge, perception and practice among patent medicine vendors in south-east, Nigeria.
Introduction: Patent medicines vendors (PMV) are ubiquitous in developing nations like Nigeria. They have been engaged to improve public health indices for health conditions like malaria. Tuberculosis case detection has remained sub-optimal in Nigeria. Little is known of the PMV interaction with tuberculosis control in Enugu state, south east Nigeria. The study explores tuberculosis knowledge, perception and practices among urban and rural based patent medicine vendors.
Method: A comparative cross-sectional descriptive study with multi-stage sampling technique. Following stratification, Enugu north (urban) and Nkanu West (rural) LGAs were selected. All registered patent medicine vendors (urban 90, rural 70) were identified for the study. Eighty three (83) urban and 66 rural PMV participated. Data was collected with a semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS version eleven and Microsoft excel.
Results: General knowledge was good in the urban area (53.2%) and poor in the rural (35.3%) a percentage difference of 17.9% (P<0.05). More of the urban PMV have the better perception of the need to refer customers with a chronic cough (Urban 81.9%, rural 62.1%, P<0.05) however, more rural PMV (18.2%) actually referred customers (not to DOTS centers) than the urban (4.8%) (P<0.05). The PMV include tuberculosis drugs among drugs sold for cough (urban 30.1%, rural 15.2%, P<0.05), despite poor knowledge of correct duration of tuberculosis drug treatment (urban 41.0%, rural 13.6%, P<0.05). The desired practices of asking customers for duration of cough (urban 97.6%, rural 95.5%, P>0.05) and advising them on ways to avoid spreading cough (urban 73.5%, rural 83.3%, P>0.05) were common among the PMV.
Conclusion: Urban PMV in Enugu state are more knowledgeable about tuberculosis than rural PMV, but their practices in relation to the disease are at par with harmful aspects. They need to be trained to improve their capacity for quality interaction with tuberculosis suspects.
Key words: Patent medicine vendor, tuberculosis, control