In-country Migration among Tuberculosis Patients in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Petersen, Molly Rose
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Geographic human mobility has been a contributor to the spread of infectious disease.1 South Africa, a country designated by the World Health Organization as having a high burden of tuberculosis, in particular has a long history with human migration, with in-country migration having been highly prevalent in the country since the apartheid regime.1,2 This study was nested in the Kharitode TB cluster randomized trial taking place in the Waterberg and Vhembe districts of Limpopo Province, a rural province in the northeast of South Africa. 3 This thesis has two aims: 1) to characterize mobility among tuberculosis patients in Limpopo Province, South Africa and 2) to look at the association between being defined as highly mobile and time to diagnosis after onset of first TB symptom. Being highly mobile in the study was defined as having spent more than 30 nights outside of one’s primary residence, or being 250 km or further away from one’s primary residence at the time of the interview. There were a total of 390 participants in this study, 114 of whom were considered highly mobile. We found both age and sex to be significantly associated with mobility. Mobility was not significantly associated with delay in seeking care after start of first TB symptom. Despite the null findings of this analysis, research of mobility among TB cases is limited, and mobile populations should be studied further and not ignored.