Background India accounts for nearly 24% of all the new tuberculosis (TB) cases globally. A good core knowledge and a positive outlook towards TB patients among our aspiring doctors and nurses are necessities for India to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proposed by the WHO as a part of its post-2015 global TB strategy and to successfully combat the newer challenges posed by this disease in the future. Aims To evaluate knowledge related to transmission, prevention and treatment of tuberculosis amongst medical and nursing students. The study also aims to evaluate the attitude of students towards tuberculosis patients. Methods A self-administered pre-tested questionnaire was completed by 200 final year undergraduate medical and nursing students at a teaching medical college hospital. We collected information pertaining to general aspects of TB, its prevention and treatment and also the attitude of these prospective doctors and nurses towards treating/nursing TB patients. Results Most respondents (98.5%) were aware of the person to person transmission of the disease. 20% thought it could spread by fomites, 6.5% by shaking hands and 17% believed kissing could spread the disease. 72% of those surveyed did not think that healthcare workers were at greater risk of contracting TB. Only 52% of students knew that non-DOTS treatment was associated with a greater probability of patient defaults, development of drug-resistance, chronic disease and deaths. 27% of the students chose a simple surgical mask believing that it could protect them against nosocomial TB. Only 50% of nursing students were aware that the sputum smear examination was the diagnostic test required to label the patient as an ‘open’ or infectious case. A reluctance to interact with TB patients for fear of personal safety was seen in 28% of both groups. 83% of nursing students and 53% of the medical students were willing to attend to TB patients in isolation wards. 98.5% of the participants believed that TB is a disease that can be prevented, treated and cured. Conclusion There exists considerable scope for improving knowledge in areas relating to disease transmission and the preventive aspects of TB among our healthcare students. Since the present curriculum was deemed as adequate by the students, newer learning methods may be needed to disseminate any additional knowledge. Healthcare students did not display any prejudice towards TB patients which augurs well for TB control activities in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases