Default during TB diagnosis: quantifying the problem

Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Dec;14(12):1437-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02406.x. Epub 2009 Oct 15.


Objectives: To quantify default during diagnosis in TB suspects and in smear-positive cases; to investigate sex differences in default during diagnosis, in all of Pakistan.

Methods: Data from laboratory registers were collected on 12 216 suspects in nine districts over the period July-September 2008.

Results: A total of 1573 TB suspects (12.9%, 95% CI = 12.3-13.5) dropped out of the diagnostic process after initial sputum submission. A total of 2058 smear-positive cases were detected, and of these 107 (5.2%, 95% CI = 4.2-6.2) defaulted during diagnosis and therefore could not be started on treatment. Male suspects defaulted slightly more frequently than female suspects (P = 0.0268).

Conclusion: Default during diagnosis is a frequent occurrence in Pakistan that should be monitored and addressed by TB control programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Directly Observed Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Health Programs
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sputum / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*