Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the primary public health problems in developing countries. HIV/AIDS, poverty, under nutrition, over-crowded living conditions and lack of knowledge about the disease have been known to increase the risk of spreading the bacteria and the risk of developing the disease. This study was aimed to assess communities’ knowledge, attitudes and practices towards TB at selected districts of Eastern Wollega Zone, Western Ethiopia. A cross sectional study was carried out from December 2013 to July 2014 in randomly selected kebeles of the study area. The pre-tested structure questionnaire was used to collect data and analyzed using SPSS for windows version 20.0. A total of 800 study participants (37.2% males and 62.8% females; age ranged from 19-68 years) were interviewed and the response rate was 100%. The mean age of the study participants was 33.8 years (SD =11.59). About (57.6%) of the respondents in Nekemte community, (20.0%) in Gute and (22.1%) from Digga communities have responded as bacteria are the cause of TB. About half (59.4%) of the Digga participants said that BCG vaccination is the prevention methods of TB. About 73.7% of the Nekemte participants mentioned that covering mouth while coughing prevents TB transmission. The study participants mentioned “opening of window” as the most important method of preventing and control of TB. The level of overall knowledge generated using the composite knowledge score of study participants was found to be 59.1%. The study participants who had aged between 30-44 years (AOR: 1.93, 95% CI 1.25- 2.73, P < 0.05) were more likely to have knowledge about TB than their counter parts. Being Gute resident had good level of knowledge about TB than being resident of Digga (AOR = 1.53, 95% CI, 1.10 to 2.24, P <0.05). The overall attitude of the study participants about TB was found to be 46.0%. The attitude towards pulmonary TB was significantly low in study participants who were employed (AOR = 0.67; 95% CI: 0.51 to 0.89, P< 0.001) than the participants who were not employed. Nekemte residents had good level of attitude about TB than residents of Digga (AOR = 1.53, 95% CI, 1.10 to 2.24, P <0.05). The overall practice of the study participants about TB was found to be 44.5%. The study of participants who had completed primary school (AOR: 1.54, 95% CI 1.09- 2.20, P < 0.01) were more likely to have good practice about PTB than secondary and above. The study participants had low level of knowledge about the causative agent, the main symptoms, and prevention methods of TB. Thus, community education could be raised in order to design effective prevention and control of TB in the study areas.
Keywords: Community, Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices, Tuberculosis, East Wollega Zone