Barriers to access and adherence to tuberculosis services, as perceived by patients: A qualitative study in Mozambique
INTRODUCTION: Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Mozambique. While diagnostic methods and total notifications are improving, significant gaps remain between total numbers of TB cases annually, and the number that are notified. The purpose of this study was to elicit Mozambican patients with drug sensitive TB (DS-TB), TB/HIV and Multi drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) understanding and assessment of the quality of care for DS-TB, HIV/TB and MDR-TB services in Mozambique, along with challenges to effectively preventing, diagnosing and treating TB.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Qualitative data was collected via separate focus group discussions consisting of patients with DS-TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB at four health centers in Sofala and Manica Province, Mozambique, to describe knowledge on TB, HIV and MDR-TB, and identify barriers to access and adherence to services and their recommendations for improvement. A total of 51 patients participated in 11 discussions. Content analysis was done and main themes were identified.
RESULTS: Focus groups shared a number of prominent themes. Respondents identified numerous challenges including delays in diagnosis, stigma related with diagnosis and treatment, long waits at health facilities, the absence of nutritional support for patients with TB, the absence of a comprehensive psychosocial support program, and the lack of overall knowledge about TB or multi drug resistant TB in the community.
DISCUSSION: TB patients in central Mozambique identified many challenges to effectively preventing, diagnosing and treating tuberculosis. Awareness strengthening in the community, continuous quality monitoring and in-service training is needed to increase screening, diagnosis and treatment for TB, HIV/TB and MDR-TB.