Socio economic position in TB prevalence and access to services: results from a population prevalence survey and a facility-based survey in Bangladesh


BACKGROUND: In Bangladesh DOTS has been provided free of charge since 1993, yet information on access to TB services by different population group is not well documented. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the socio economic position (SEP) of actively detected cases from the community and the cases being routinely detected under National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) in Bangladesh. METHODS AND FINDINGS: SEP was assessed by validated asset item for each of the 21,427 households included in the national tuberculosis prevalence survey 2007-2009. A principal component analysis generated household scores and categorized in quartiles. The distribution of 33 actively identified cases was compared with the 240 NTP cases over the identical SEP quartiles to evaluate access to TB services by different groups of the population. The population prevalence of tuberculosis was 5 times higher in the lowest quartiles of population (95.4, 95% CI: 48.0-189.7) to highest quartile population (19.5, 95% CI: 6.9-55.0). Among the 33 cases detected during survey, 25 (75.8%) were from lower two quartiles, and the rest 8 (24.3%) were from upper two quartiles. Among TB cases detected passively under NTP, more than half of them 137 (57.1%) were from uppermost two quartiles, 98 (41%) from the second quartile, and 5 (2%) in the lowest quartile of the population. This distribution is not affected when adjusted for other factors or interactions among them. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that despite availability free of charge, DOTS is not equally accessed by the poorer sections of the population. However, these figures should be interpreted with caution since there is a need for additional studies that assess in-depth poverty indicators and its determinants in relation to access of the TB services provided in Bangladesh.

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