Pathways and costs of care for patients with tuberculosis symptoms in rural Uganda

P. B. Shete, P. Haguma, C. R. Miller, E. Ochom, I. Ayakaka, J. L. Davis, D. W. Dowdy, P. Hopewell, A. Katamba, A. Cattamanchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


SETTING: Six district-level government health centers in rural Uganda and the surrounding communities. OBJECTI VE : To determine pathways to care and associated costs for patients with chronic cough referred for tuberculosis (TB) evaluation in Uganda. DESIGN: We conducted a cross-sectional study, surveying 64 patients presenting with chronic cough and undergoing first-time sputum evaluation at government clinics. We also surveyed a random sample of 114 individuals with chronic cough in surrounding communities. We collected information on previous health visits for the cough as well as costs associated with the current visit. RESULT S : Eighty per cent of clinic patients had previously sought care for their cough, with a median of three previous visits (range 0-32, interquartile range [IQR] 2-5). Most (n 203, 88%) visits were to a health facility that did not provide TB microscopy services, and the majority occurred in the private sector. The cost of seeking care for the current visit alone represented 28.8% (IQR 9.1-109.5) of the patients' median monthly household income. CONCLUS ION: Most patients seek health care for chronic cough, but do so first in the private sector. Engagement of the private sector and streamlining TB diagnostic evaluation are critical for improving case detection and meeting global TB elimination targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-917
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Care seeking
  • Cost
  • Cough
  • Delay
  • Diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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