Knowledge and practices regarding tuberculosis: a survey of final-year medical students from Canada, India and Uganda
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CONTEXT: Tuberculosis is one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide and is responsible for the largest number of deaths from a single infectious cause. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to compare the knowledge of and practices regarding tuberculosis in final-year medical students at schools from endemic and non-endemic areas. SUBJECTS: Final-year medical students at McMaster University in Canada, the Christian Medical College in India, and Makerere University in Uganda. METHODS: A questionnaire consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions assessing knowledge, practices, and exposure. A total knowledge score (maximum=13) and a total practice score (maximum=5) were created for each study site. RESULTS: 160 questionnaires were returned; the response rate was 68.4% (65/95) for McMaster University, 39.7% (23/58) for the Christian Medical College and 78.3% (72/92) for Makerere University. Students from Makerere University had the highest knowledge scores but differences were non-significant after adjustment for patient exposure and curriculum time (F(2,153)= 1.80, P=0.16). Differences in practice scores, however, remained significant after adjusting for curriculum time and patient exposure (F(2,153)=5.14, P=0.006). Knowledge score (F(1,156)=5.05, P=0.02), patient exposure (F(1,153)=9.11, P=0.003), and curriculum time and patient exposure (F(2,153)=5.14, P=0.006) were statistically significant positive predictors of the total practice score. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated significant differences in undergraduate exposure to tuberculosis, total knowledge, and practice competency at three medical schools in Canada, India, and Uganda. In general, the knowledge base and practice competency of all three graduating classes was adequate.