Objectives. To quantify default during diagnosis in TB suspects and in smear-positive cases; to investigate sex differences in default during diagnosis, in all of Pakistan.
Methods. Data from laboratory registers were collected on 12 216 suspects in nine districts over the period July–September 2008.
Results. A total of 1573 TB suspects (12.9%, 95% CI = 12.3–13.5) dropped out of the diagnostic process after initial sputum submission. A total of 2058 smear-positive cases were detected, and of these 107 (5.2%, 95% CI = 4.2–6.2) defaulted during diagnosis and therefore could not be started on treatment. Male suspects defaulted slightly more frequently than female suspects (P = 0.0268).
Conclusion. Default during diagnosis is a frequent occurrence in Pakistan that should be monitored and addressed by TB control programs.
Tropical Medicine and International Health (2009) 14 (12) 1437-1441 [doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02406.x]