Stigma against tuberculosis patients in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
BACKGROUND: Stigma attached to tuberculosis contributes to the limited effectiveness of current TB control approaches. However, there is a dearth of studies that explore the causes of stigma attached to tuberculosis and its effects on patients and tuberculosiscontrol programs in Ethiopia.
METHODS: An institution-based qualitative study was conducted at St. Peter Tuberculosis Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July to August, 2015. Ten in-depth interviews and 6 key-informant interviews were carried out among tuberculosis patients and healthcare workers, respectively.The Open Code computer software package was used to analyze the data thematically.
RESULTS: The study revealed that fear of infection and inappropriate health education messages by media were the main causes of tuberculosis stigma. The patients experienced isolation within their family and community, separation, and financial crisis. The stigma attached to tuberculosis may contribute to delayed healthcare seeking, poor treatment adherence, and poor prognosis.
CONCLUSION: Interventions thatreduce the stigma attached to tuberculosis should target on areas, such as creating community awareness, patient counseling on problem-solving and emotional skills, preparing culturally sensitive and scientifically sound media messages, providing financial support for the patients, and enhancing the qualities of the healthcare workers, such as empathy, concern, respect for the patient and cultural sensitivity.