Case finding under the NTP in India is a passive
process limited to chest symptomatics in the community who attend
government health institutions on their own for relief of symptoms.
It is, therefore, essential that the community is aware of the basic
facts about TB. This study was undertaken in 24 randomly selected
villages of Sri Perumbudur (Tq), Chengai Anna (Dist) Tamil Nadu
to assess the initial level of knowledge about TB and again after
providing health education on TB to evaluate its effectiveness after
2 years. Every fifth household starting from randomly chosen location
was visited by Medical Social Worker (MSW) and a total of 466 respondents
were interviewed. The head of the household or in his or her absence
any other responsible family member was interviewed to find out
the initial level of knowledge of TB using a pre-tested semi-structured
interview schedule. The community was then educated about the important
aspects of TB by means of pamphlets, film shows, exhibitions, role
plays and group discussions. After two years, in the same households,
433 (93%) respondents were interviewed using the same interview
Two-thirds of the respondents were females and
half of them were in the age group of 25-45 years. As regards literacy
status, 53% were illiterates. There was an overall increase of knowledge
on various aspects of TB, ranging from 18-58%. In all, 45% respondents
initially and 91% after health education answered correctly that
both rich and poor are affected by TB, 38% initially were aware
that both adults and children are affected by TB and afterwards
93% were aware of these facts. Prior to health education, 37% knew
prevalence of TB is similar in urban and rural areas, this increased
to 95% after health education. Regarding knowledge that investigation
and treatment facilities are available free of cost at Govt. Health
Institutions 67% to begin with and almost all 98% afterwards responded
correctly. About the need of examining the close family members
of TB patients, 67% were initially aware and after health education,
it increased to 98%. Further 15% were aware of cough hygiene prior
to health education, which increased to 48% subsequently.
As regards the source of information on TB, 70%
mentioned verbal communication, i.e., through TB patients and others,
as the major source followed by pamphlets (21%), mass media (14%)
and others (15%).
It is necessary to consider the type of community
and the available resources while planning health education strategies.
For health education to be effective, and sustained, it should be
a continuous process.