Intervention studies

During the past years there has been many papers on patient and treatment delay of tuberculosis. The reasons for delay seem to be with the patient: Delay is often associated with illiteracy, distance from the health institution, gender, poverty, and knowledge about tuberculosis.

Over the years, we have also published on this topic. However, I now doubt if we a need for any more cross-sectional studies. I often receive questions from editors to review such papers, and they do not contain anything new.

So, this raises the question on how many descriptive studies do we need before doing anything for the patients? Does a study showing any association between lack of knowledge on tuberculosis prove that educating the population would reduce delay? I doubt that we can make such a conclusion.

More emphasis should be on how to reduce delay. We need more intervention studies. And these intervention studies should focus on the providers’, and not on the patients’ side. One example of an intervention study is by Estifanos Birru. He showed that active case finding reduces patient delay.

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