Barriers to completing TB diagnosis in Yemen: services should respond to patients’ needs
Obtaining a diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is a prerequisite for accessing specific treatment, yet one third of estimated new cases are missed worldwide by National Programmes. This study investigated economic, geographical, socio-cultural and health system factors hindering adults attendance and completion of the TB diagnostic process in Yemen, to inform interventions designed to improve patient access to services.
The study found that the majority of patients surveyed were disadvantaged and had poor literacy (61% illiterate), had travelled from rural areas (47%) and attended with companions (84%). Key barriers for attendance identified were clinic and transport costs (augmented by companions), distance from home, a preference for private services, strong social stigma and a lack of understanding of the diagnostic process.
The authors conclude that strategies to bring TB diagnostic services closer to communities and address the multiple barriers patients face to attend, will be important to increase access to TB diagnosis and care.