This retrospective study was intended to report the improved detection rate and also the incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis at the Tamale Teaching Hospital of Northern Ghana.
Sputum smear microscopy for acid fast bacilli (AFB) results of newly suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (Diagnosed Clinically)was analysed for the study. Patients and their demographic data, comprising age, and sex recorded from January 2004, to December 2012, were retrieved from the chest clinic and laboratory register (TB04) of the bacteriology unit and analysed.
Out of a total of 5,720 cases registered, 4,762 (83.3%) were new patients with clinically diagnosed PTB. This comprised of 2,766 (58.1%) males and 1,996 (41.9%) females giving a female to male ratio of 1:14. Assessment of recorded data for newly suspected PTB patients rose from 165 (9.9%) in 2004 to 948 (19.9%) in 2009.
Out of a total of the 4,762 clinically diagnosed (reported) cases 620 were sputum smear positive, yielding positivity rate on a year to year basis, was 15.7% (2004), 15.8% (2005), 13.4% (2006), 12.7% (2007), 20.6% (2008), 10.0% (2009) and 6.3% (2010).
The median age for recorded cases was 42 years. Generally the percentage proportion of confirmed PTB stratified by age showed a steady rise from 0.3% in <5 years age group and peaked at 16.3% in 30 – 35 years age group from 10.0% to 4.8% in 54 – 59 years age group.
There has been a remarkable improvement in diagnostic request for suspected TB patients; the decline in positivity rate might have been impacted upon greatly by the national strategy to stop TB which emphasized on active case finding and prompt reporting at the community level, improving diagnostic processes and strengthening the health systems. The rapid urbanization and changes in the social background of the inhabitants of the Tamale Metropolitan Area (TMA) cannot be overemphasized
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