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Pan African Medical Journal

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Knowledge and perceptions of tuberculosis among patients in a pastoralist community in Kenya: a qualitative study

Grace Wambura Mbuthia, Charles Owour Olungah, Tom Gesora Ondicho

Abstract


Introduction: Tuberculosis awareness is crucial to the success of control and prevention of tuberculosis. However, the knowledge and perceptions of tuberculosis patients in rural Kenya is not well documented. The study sought to explore the knowledge and perceptions of TB patients in West Pokot County Kenya.

Methods: This was a qualitative descriptive study conducted between January-March 2016. A total of 61 pulmonary tuberculosis patients took part in the study which comprised 6 focus group discussion and 15 in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: Participants perceived TB as a serious contagious disease that is hard to diagnose and treat. They attributed tuberculosis to smoking, drinking alcohol, dust, cold air, witchcraft, trauma to the chest, contact with livestock and genetic factors. They believed that TB was transmitted through casual contact with TB patients and sharing of utensils.

Conclusion: The study showed a lot of misperceptions among tuberculosis patients. The tuberculosis program should heighten patient education to improve patient knowledge and put more effort to dispel misinformation about the cause and mode of transmission of the disease.

Keywords: Tuberculosis, knowledge, qualitative study, Kenya



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