Published: 2017-06-24

Treatment default among pulmonary tuberculosis patients at an urban slum in South-Eastern Nigeria

Ndubuisi O. Nwachukwu, Azu R. Onyeagba, Elendu C. Onwuchekwa, Okoronkwo C. Uche, Ulasi A. Esther


Background: Anambra State is one of the States in Nigeria with a high rate of treatment default. The objectives were to examine default from treatment among newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis patients and identify reasons for default.

Methods: This prospective observational study was conducted at Okpoko in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra state. A total of 166 patients participated. Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis was based on microscopy. Patients were treated using the standard 6-month regimen recommended by WHO.

Results: A treatment default rate of 13.3% was observed. Default was higher in males (15.7%) and in patients aged < 35 years old (P<0.05). Exactly 9 (13.8%) defaulters lived >5km radius from treatment centers versus 3 (12.9%) who lived <5km radius from treatment centers (P<0.05). Majority of patients 17 (77.3%) defaulted during the continuation phase of treatment. The main reasons for default were attributed to harsh attitude of care providers (59.1%), resolution of symptoms (54.5%) migration (36.4%) and poverty (36.4%).

Conclusions: Treatment default was high (13.3%) and majority of patients defaulted during the continuation phases. Periodic supervision of community care providers and enhanced counselling of young patients will reduce patient default from treatment.


Anambra State, Pulmonary tuberculosis, Reasons, Treatment default

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