Knowledge of Tuberculosis Management Using Directly Observed Treatment Short Course Therapy among Final Year Medical Students in South Western Nigeria
Introduction: Equipping medical graduates with the competence to manage tuberculosis is not just imperative but also urgent as the diseases
have been consistently listed as one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. However, there were no baseline studies done on
knowledge of final year medical students on various aspects of TB diagnosis and management under directly observed treatment short course
therapy (DOTS) which forms the basis of this study.
Methods: A total of 241 final year medical students from three medical colleges in Nigeria
were interviewed. The questions assessed their knowledge about various modes of transmission, symptoms and management of tuberculosis
Results: More than half of the respondents (i.e. 69%) had poor knowledge on TB disease. Only 33.6% mentioned sputum smear as
the best tool of diagnosing TB according to guideline. Poor knowledge was also exhibited when asked of various categories under DOTS treatment
regimen, as 46.1% correctly mentioned cat 1 and 2. Minority 18.7% and 6.7% had complete knowledge of 6 months duration for new TB cases
and 8 months for re-treatment cases respectively. Less than one tenth, i.e. 4.6% and 2.9% could correctly defined what is called a new TB case
and re-treatment cases according to standard guideline.
Conclusion: The study reveals gross inadequacies in TB knowledge and management
practices among Nigerian final year medical students. There is urgent need for incorporation of National TB guideline into existing undergraduate
medical education curriculum as well as students rotation through activities in DOTS clinic.