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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 3236-3241

The tribal community's perception on tuberculosis: A community based qualitative study in Tamil Nadu, India


1 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Division of Global Health and Population, School of Public Health, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Alex Joseph
Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, 3rd Floor, Medical College Building, Intra College Road, SRM Nagar, Potheri, Kattankulathur - 603 203, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_565_19

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Background and Objective: Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It is a major public health issue with India being the highest prevalent country in the world. The nation has a large and heterogeneous tribal population of approximately 104 million people which accounts for 8.6% of the total population. This study focuses on assessing the tuberculosis scenario amongst the tribal population their perceptions on risk factors of TB, general health problems, health seeking behavior, and challenges faced by them. Methods: The study was conducted using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions in the three sampled study districts namely Nilgiris, Namakkal, and Villipuram of Tamil Nadu, India. A thematic analysis was performed to identify the major emerging themes. Following thematic analysis, an interventional strategy for improving the overall knowledge and awareness among the community health education was imparted. Results: The conducted in-depth interviews and focus group discussions identified major themes that emerged from the codes which included stigma and discrimination, association with HIV, detection of symptoms, health seeking behavior, knowledge and awareness of TB, acculturation, treatment adherence and lack of lab facility. Conclusion: This qualitative study has captured the overall perception towards tuberculosis from the tribal community as a whole as well as from the health workers. The tribal community stigmatized and discriminated people suffering from TB which had an impact on the health seeking behavior as well as on the treatment adherence. The primary care providers were aware of the situation of TB in tribes but were poorly equipped. Primary healthcare providers should in fact, have a crucial role in identification of at-risk subjects, for prompt referrals, and delivery of treatment services.


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