Tuberculosis care cascade for the indigenous population in Colombia: an operational research study*

Polanco-Pasaje et al.


Construct and evaluate the care cascade for pulmonary tuberculosis in the indigenous population
of the department of Cauca (Colombia) and identify existing gaps.


Mixed-methods sequential explanatory design. In the first phase, the pulmonary tuberculosis care
cascade for the indigenous population of Cauca was evaluated. Data were obtained from secondary sources and all cases diagnosed from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017 were included. In the second phase, semi-structured interviews were done with nine program coordinators and 11 nursing auxiliaries to explain identified gaps. Absolute and percentage values were estimated for each of the steps and gaps in the care cascade. Quantitative and qualitative results were triangulated.


In 2016 and 2017, an estimated 202 patients with respiratory symptoms were expected to be positive
and 106 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis were reported among the indigenous population of the department of Cauca. A gap of 47.5% was found for diagnosis since only 52.5% of subjects were diagnosed in health services. This gap was explained by the poor quality of samples and flawed smear techniques; flaws incorrect identification of patients with respiratory symptoms; limited access to diagnostic methods, such as culture and molecular tests; and limited training and high turnover of personnel in health service provider institutions.


The tuberculosis control program should focus actions on bridging the gap in case detection in
the indigenous population.

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Original research