a) Community Survey Based
AU : Thilakavathi S, Nirupama C, Rani B, Balambal R, Sundaram V, Sudha Ganapathy & Prabhakar R
TI : Knowledge of tuberculosis in a south Indian rural community, initially and after health education
SO : INDIAN J TB 1999, 46, 251-54
DT : Per
AB :

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 schedule.

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.