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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2017

Lost in care pathway: a qualitative investigation on the health system delay of extra pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Bangladesh

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Malabika Sarker, Din Mohammad, Sukanta Paul, Rahima Akter, Shayla Islam, Goutam Biswas, Asheque Hossain, Akramul Islam
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12913-017-2181-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Although extra pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) has long been known as a major public health concern globally, the complex healthcare-seeking pathways of EPTB patients are not widely studied. This study aims to explore the pattern of healthcare-seeking pathways of rural and urban EPTB patients registered with the BRAC TB control programme. BRAC is a Bangladesh-based non-governmental organization dedicated to alleviating poverty through empowering the poor.


Data were collected through 60 in-depth interviews with rural and urban EPTB patients in Bangladesh.


The findings reveal that the rural EPTB patients encountered a substantial diagnostic delay as compared to the urban patients. However, the difference between the average number of healthcare providers consulted by the rural verses the urban EPTB patients was not significant. This study also shows that the healthcare-seeking journey of rural and urban EPTB patients usually starts either at pharmacies or private facilities. Through exploring the detailed nature of the pathway, this study reveals the ways in which non-medical informants, mainly relatives and friends, can benefit patients.


The private and informal healthcare providers should receive appropriate training on the diagnosis of EPTB. Such training could effectively shorten the long and complex healthcare-seeking pathways of EPTB patients.
Additional file 1: In-depth interview guideline. Guideline used to explore the healthcare-seeking pathway of patients with extra pulmonary tuberculosis. (DOC 47 kb)
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