Objective: To ascertain the level of knowledge, skills and ability about tuberculosis among final-year medical students in Hunan province of China.
Methods: The final-year medical students from 3 medical schools were asked to complete a pre-tested questionnaire by random sampling. The questionnaire consisted of 12 and 6 multiple-choice questions assessing knowledge and practices about tuberculosis, respectively.
Results: Four hundred and thirty-nine questionnaires were returned with a response rate of 97.6%. The majority of the students knew well on signs/symptoms associated with tuberculosis, but only a few students knew the prevalence of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis in China in 2000, while 25.5% of them knew of the BCG vaccination. 33.5% of the participants understood the policy of convergence case-management of tuberculosis. Analysis showed that six of twelve items were slightly statistically different among the respondents. The study also demonstrated that 334 respondents had prescribed 80 different treatment regimens but only 16.8% were correct. 33.4% of the participants ordered sputum examination during tuberculosis treatment course. Only 4.5% had transferred the patients with tuberculosis to local tuberculosis dispensary after their discharge from hospital.
Conclusions: Knowledge and practice competency regarding tuberculosis among the final-year medical students were generally inadequate. Many misunderstandings were found in the field of BCG vaccination, the status of tuberculosis and the performance of National Tuberculosis Project (NTP). These findings suggest that there is a lack of emphasis on proper health education about tuberculosis. Students in medical schools need more training and more practice.