Does traditional medicine use hamper efforts at tuberculosis control in urban Peru?

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005 Sep;73(3):571-5.


Decades of social and political unrest have contributed to the urbanization of the population of Peru with large-scale migration from rural Andean and Amazonian communities to overcrowded shantytowns around Lima. We administered a face-to-face survey questionnaire to 116 patients with suspected and proven tuberculosis (TB) in northern Lima to determine the extent to which the use of traditional therapies from indigenous regions persists and the impact of any such use on TB control. Sixty-three percent of participants reported some form of self-treatment prior to presentation to the National Tuberculosis Program; 52% of them used traditional remedies. Symptom duration was longer among self-remedy users than non-users (median = 25 versus 15 days; P = 0.07) and among those exclusively using western remedies rather than traditional remedies (median = 30 versus 15 days; P = 0.01). We thus found no evidence that use of traditional remedies has an appreciable effect on diagnostic delay in Lima.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Peru / epidemiology
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*


  • Antitubercular Agents