|SIGNIFICANCE OF SOME SOCIAL FACTORS IN THE TREATMENT
BEHAVIOUR OF TUBERCULOSIS PATIENTS
|Radha Narayan & N Srikantaramu: NTI Newsletter
1987, 23, 76-90.
This study based on an individualistic model examines
the significance of factors such as symptom awareness, knowledge
about the disease, recall of clinic instructions, economic problems
and social interaction in the treatment regularity of patients with
pulmonary tuberculosis through a multi dimensional comparison
of regular patients, irregular patients and their households.
There was no difference in the symptom awareness of the two groups
of patients. Thus frequency of medical visits is to adopt the sick
role than of stress. In NTP patients are denied the sick role has
rest and special diet the vital elements
of traditional treatment are not recommended as part of treatment.
Yet, three of the four cardinal symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis,
cough fever and haemoptysis being of a nature observable by
others, have been observed by the households to the extent similar
to patients awareness. Most of the patients who take treatment from
non- paying centres such as the LWTDTC live in overcrowded areas
where there is generally a high degree of neighbourhood interaction
not only social but in sharing common utilities such as courtyard,
water tap, bath room, toilet etc. It is therefore not surprising
that nearly half of the patients and households said that the neighbours
knew about the patient's illness.
Seeking multiple sources of treatment is a common
behaviour pattern of patients. Yet, it is disconcerting to find
that tuberculosis patients who can ill afford to pay and who need
to be under treatment for a long period should 'shop around' for
treatment. It is the irregular patients who have sought treatment
at other agencies more often. The study shows that patients
showing regular drug collection have had help from household members
in collecting the drugs. They have also had help from household
members in remembering to consume the drugs. More of the households
of the regulars mentioned LWTDTC as the place of treatment while
in the in case of the households of the irregulars mentioned several
places of treatment.
No significant differences were seen between the
regular and irregular patients in their social interactions within
the households or in the behaviour of households towards the patients.
To the household, economic difficulties were the most important,
perhaps for the reason that the patients were men in the working
age group. Though economic difficulties were important to patients
also the predominant aspect was pain and discomfort the physical
dimensions of suffering. A treatment agency that can pay adequate
attention to the relief of physical suffering and non- relapse of
symptoms can perhaps help to improve treatment regularity of tuberculosis
|KEY WORDS: PATIENT BEHAVIOUR, SOCIAL FACTORS,
SYMPTOMS, HOUSEHOLD, COMPLIANCE.