OBJECTIVE: Tuberculosis is on the rise throughout the world and better understanding and
knowledge about tuberculosis remains an important tool in its control. The objective of this
study was to determine the level of knowledge about tuberculosis among patients attending
Family Practice clinics in Karachi.
SETTING: Family practice clinics affiliated to a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan during
July to September 2003.
METHODS: Total 204 subjects aged 18 years and above were interviewed on convenient basis in
a cross-sectional survey. Data was collected through a pre-tested structured questionnaire
which comprised of socio-demographic variables and questions about cause, transmission,
common clinical features and cure of tuberculosis.
RESULTS: Respondents were predominantly female (58%) with an extended family structure
(78%). More than one-third (35%) of the respondents were illiterate and almost a similar
proportion (31%) had received primary education. Only 39% of study subjects knew that
tuberculosis is an infectious disease, 19% reported that there is an asymptomatic stage of
infection, 33% said that it is curable with proper treatment while 51% considered tuberculosis as
a preventable disease. Forty-five percent of respondents did not know about possible
consequences of uncured cases and 61% did not know tuberculosis as one of the major health
problems of Pakistan.
CONCLUSION: In this study, majority of study subjects had poor knowledge about tuberculosis,
its prevention and magnitude. Proper knowledge and education about tuberculosis is vital to
cope the challenge of this devastating disease. Family Practitioner, being first care providers to
the community can play a critical role to raise knowledge about tuberculosis prevention.
Tuberculosis. Knowledge. Prevention. Family practice.