Tuberculosis: do we know enough? a study of patients and their families in an out-patient hospital setting in Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Office of the Provost


SETTING: In Pakistan approximately 5.7 million people suffer from tuberculosis, with 260000 new cases occurring every year. This study was conducted in an out-patient hospital setting in Karachi.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the level of awareness about tuberculosis amongst patients and their families, and recommend strategies for increasing understanding of the disease. DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional survey based on a structured questionnaire using convenience sampling.
RESULTS: Of the 203 patients interviewed, 131 were males. Nearly 82% knew that tuberculosis is contagious and 78% were aware that lungs are commonly affected. Almost half knew that it spreads by droplets and causes cough and that treatment is long and costly. With regard to commonly affected age and sex, however, respectively only 43% and 23% had the correct knowledge. Less than one third could identify appropriate risk factors and ways to cure and limit spread. Almost half considered tuberculosis to be a social stigma. Media emerged as the main source of information. Respondents with more than 12 years of formal education were more likely to have better knowledge.
CONCLUSIONS: Further population-based studies are recommended. Misconceptions about tuberculosis need to be removed through focused health education messages. The importance of complete and appropriate treatment needs to be emphasised.


International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease