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Patients direct costs to undergo TB diagnosis.


BACKGROUND: A major impediment to the treatment of TB is a diagnostic process that requires multiple visits. Descriptions of patient costs associated with diagnosis use different protocols and are not comparable.

METHODS: We aimed to describe the direct costs incurred by adults attending TB diagnostic centres in four countries and factors associated with expenditure for diagnosis. Surveys of 2225 adults attending smear-microscopy centres in Nigeria, Nepal, Ethiopia and Yemen. Adults >18 years with cough >2 weeks were enrolled prospectively. Direct costs were quantified using structured questionnaires. Patients with costs >75(th) quartile were considered to have high expenditure (cases) and compared with patients with costs <75(th) quartile to identify factors associated with high expenditure.

RESULTS: The most significant expenses were due to clinic fees and transport. Most participants attended the centres with companions. High expenditure was associated with attending with company, residing in rural areas/other towns and illiteracy.

CONCLUSIONS: The costs incurred by patients are substantial and share common patterns across countries. Removing user fees, transparent charging policies and reimbursing clinic expenses would reduce the poverty-inducing effects of direct diagnostic costs. In locations with limited resources, support could be prioritised for those most at risk of high expenditure; those who are illiterate, attend the service with company and rural residents.

More information

Journal Article
Cuevas RAM
Lawson L
Al-Sonboli N
Al-Aghbari N
Arbide I
Sherchand JB
Nnamdi EE
Aseffa A
Yassin MA
Abdurrahman ST
Obasanya J
Olanrewaju O
Datiko D
Theobald SJ
Ramsay A
Squire BS
Cuevas LE