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Geographic Accessibility, Readiness, and Barriers of Health Facilities to Offer Tuberculosis Services in East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia: A Convergent Parallel Design

Authors Asemahagn MA, Alene GD, Yimer SA

Received 1 October 2019

Accepted for publication 10 January 2020

Published 4 February 2020 Volume 2020:11 Pages 3—16


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Mario Rodriguez-Perez

Mulusew Andualem Asemahagn,1 Getu Degu Alene,1 Solomon Abebe Yimer2,3

1School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; 2Department of Microbiology, Unit for Genome Dynamics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; 3Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Oslo, Norway

Correspondence: Mulusew Andualem Asemahagn Email

Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a foremost global public health threat. Active TB control needs geographically accessible health facilities that have quality diagnostics, equipment, supplies, medicines, and staff.
Objective: This study aimed at assessing the geographic distribution, physical accessibility, readiness and barriers of health facilities for TB services in East Gojjam zone, Ethiopia.
Methods: A convergent parallel design was applied using health facility and geographic data. Data on facility attributes, service availability and readiness were collected by inteviewing TB officers, laboratory heads and onsite facility visits. Coordinates of health facilities and kebele centroids were collected by GPS. We used ArcGIS 10.6 to measure Euclidean distance from each kebele centroids to the nearest health facility. Descriptive statistics were computed by using SPSS version 25. Barriers to TB service readiness were explored by in-depth interviews. NVivo12 was used to thematically analyze the qualitative data.
Results: The overall TB health service coverage (THSC) was 23% (ranging: 10– 85%). The mean distance from the nearest health facility was 8km (ranging: 0.5– 16km). About 132 (32%) kebeles had poor geographic accessibility to TB services (over 10km distance from the nearest health facility) and had poor facility readiness. Although 114 (95%) health facilities offered at least one TB service, 44 (38.6%) of them had no sputum smear microscopy. The overall TB readiness index was 63.5%: first-line anti-TB drugs (97%), diagnostics (63%), trained staffs, diagnostic and treatment guidelines (53%) and laboratory supplies (41%). Lack of health workers (laboratory personnel), inadequate budget, poor management practice and TB program support, inadequate TB commodity suppliers, and less accessible geographic locations of health facilities were identified as barriers to TB service readiness distribution.
Conclusion: Considerable proportion of the population in the study area  have poor access to quality TB diagnostic services due to low THSC and poor facility readiness. Barriers to TB service availability and readiness were health system related. Regular refresher training of health workers on TB, creating mechanisms to attract laboratory personnel to work in the study area and scaling up of sputum smear microscopy services, establishing an efficient mechanism for procurement, distribution, utilization and reporting of TB commodity supplies, and good management practices are crucial to enhance TB service readiness in the study zone.

Keywords: tuberculosis, accessibility, readiness, barriers, health facilities, TB services, East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia

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