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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 640-647

Health literacy on tuberculosis amongst vulnerable segment of population: special reference to Saharia tribe in central India

National Institute for Research in Tribal Health (ICMR), Jabalpur, India

Correspondence Address:
M Muniyandi
National Institute for Research in Tribal Health (ICMR), Nagpur Road P.O., Garha, Jabalpur 482 003, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159566

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Background & objectives: Health literacy on tuberculosis (TB) is an understanding about TB to perform activities with regard to prevention, diagnosis and treatment. We undertook a study to assess the health literacy on TB among one of the vulnerable tribal groups (Saharia) in central India. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 2721 individuals aged >15 yr from two districts of Madhya Pradesh State of India were interviewed at their residence during December 2012-July 2013. By using a short-form questionnaire, health literacy on cause, symptoms, mode of transmission, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TB was assessed. Results: Of the 2721 (Gwalior 1381; Shivpuri 1340) individuals interviewed; 76 per cent were aged <45 yr. Living condition was very poor (62% living in huts/katcha houses, 84 per cent with single room, 89 per cent no separate kitchen, 97 per cent used wood/crop as a fuel). Overall literacy rate was 19 per cent, and 22 per cent had >7 members in a house. Of the 2721 respondents participated, 52 per cent had never heard of TB; among them 8 per cent mentioned cough as a symptom, 64 per cent mentioned coughing up blood, and 91 per cent knew that TB diagnosis, and treatment facilities were available in both government and private hospitals. Health literacy score among participants who had heard of TB was <40 per cent among 36 per cent of respondents, 41-60 per cent among 54 per cent and >60 per cent among 8 per cent of respondents. Interpretation & conclusions: The finding that nearly half of the respondents had not heard of TB indicated an important gap in education regarding TB in this vulnerable population. There is an urgent need to implement targeted interventions to educate this group for better TB control.

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