People concentrated in congregated systems such as prisons, are important but often neglected reservoirs for tuberculosis transmission, and threaten those in the outside community. The condition is more serious in Africa particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) due to its poor living conditions and ineffective health services.
This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis and associated risk factors among prisoners in Hadiya Zone prison.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out from May to June 2013 in Hadiya Zone prison. Prison inmates who had history of cough for at least a week were included in the study. Three morning sputum samples were collected from suspected inmates and examined through compound light microscopy. The data obtained was analyzed using statistical software like Epidata and STATA.
A total of 164 prisoners were included in the survey using active screening strategy and the point prevalence of smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in the prison was 349.2 per 100,000 populations; about three times higher than its prevalence in the general population. Even though lack of visit from family was the only variable identified as a risk factor for PTB (P = 0.029), almost all of the PTB positive cases were rural residents, farmers, male youngsters and those who shared cell with TB patients and chronically coughing persons as well as those who stayed in a cell that contains >100 inmates.
There is high prevalence of TB in Hadiya Zone prison with possible active transmission of TB within the prison. The study also documented a number of factors which may facilitate exposures to TB though most of them are not significantly associated. Therefore, strong cooperation between prison authorities and the national tuberculosis control programmes is urgently required to develop locally appropriate interventions to reduce transmission.