Gender bias may contribute to missed TB cases in South Africa

Author(s): Anja Smith Ronelle Burger , M. Claasens, Helen Ayles, P. Godfrey-Faussett, N. Beyers

 

Abstract
Eight communities with high tuberculosis (TB) prevalence, Western Cape, South Africa. Our objective was to identify sex differences in TB health-seeking behaviour and diagnosis in primary health care facilities and how this influences TB diagnosis. We used data from a prevalence survey among 30,017 adults conducted in 2010 as part of the Zambia, South Africa Tuberculosis and AIDS Reduction (ZAMSTAR) trial. A total of 1670 (5.4%) adults indicated they had a cough of ⩾2 weeks, 950 (56.9%) of who were women. Women were less likely to report a cough of ⩾2 weeks (5.1% vs. 6.4%, P < 0.001), but were more likely to seek care for their cough (32.6% vs. 26.9%, P = 0.012). Of all adults who sought care, 403 (80.0%) sought care for their cough at a primary health care (PHC) facility (79.0% women vs. 81.4% men, P = 0.511). Women were less likely to be asked for a sputum sample at the PHC facility (63.3% vs. 77.2%, P = 0.003) and less likely to have a positive sputum result (12.6% vs. 20.7%, P = 0.023). The attainment of sex equity in the provision of TB health services requires adherence to testing protocols. Everyone, irrespective of sex, who seeks care for a cough of ⩾2 weeks should be tested.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27046716

 

Smith, A., Burger, R., Claassens, M., Ayles, H., Godfrey-Faussett, P. and Beyers, N., 2016. Health care workers’ gender bias in testing could contribute to missed tuberculosis among women in South Africa. The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease20(3), pp.350-356.