Is pulmonary tuberculosis in pregnant women a problem in Ghana? Observations and lessons from the National Tuberculosis Prevalence Project

Background: Despite appropriate prevention and control measures, tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant contributor to maternal morbidity and mortality. Diagnosis of the disease in pregnancy is usually challenging, as the symptoms may be attributed to the pregnancy. Little is known about the true burden of the disease and its associated risk factors among pregnant women. This study sought to assess the prevalence of TB among pregnant women and associated sociodemographic characteristics in Ghana. Methods: The study used nationally representative data gathered from the national TB project in 2013. A total of 1747 pregnant women were sampled from 56 randomly selected diagnostic health centers across the ten regions of Ghana. TB was confirmed with Ziehl–Neelsen staining technique using morning sputum samples from pregnant women who reported coughing for more than 2 weeks. We assessed how the observed TB prevalence differed by some sociodemographic characteristics and other factors. We further examined the regional spatial distribution of pregnant women with TB in the country. Results: Up to 11.2% of the pregnant women had a history of cough during pregnancy. Eighteen (1.1%) cases of TB were confirmed among the pregnant women during the 2‑year period, with the Eastern region of the country recording the highest (n = 13, 72%), followed by Volta region ( n = 2, 11.1%). No cases were recorded in five regions. The geographical region of residence was the only determinant of TB in pregnancy significantly associated with TB (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Although the burden of TB was found to be low, appropriate control measures have to be put in place to detect the disease during the early stages of pregnancy to safeguard the health of the expectant mother and the unborn child.
An article published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Maternal health, pregnancy, prevalence, tuberculosis
Wolters Kluwer - Medknow, Int J Mycobacteriol 2019;8:267-72