Introduction: Diagnosis of tuberculosis under the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTCP) is based on microscopic examination of sputum. The main objective of this study was to assess the perception of physicians and patients regarding the importance of chest X-ray in diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis with a view to suggest corrective measures.
Materials & Methods: One hundred and eighty three consecutive patients reporting at the Nikopoor Tuberculosis Center under the National Tuberculosis Control Program were questioned in detail through a specially designed semi-structured questionnaire.
Results: Of all patients, 145 (79.23%) had already taken a chest X-ray before attending the Center, either for medical advice or on own initiative, but only 37 (19.66%) had been sputum examined. Apart from these 145 patients, another 38 (15.63%) had to have their chest X-ray taken at the Center according to NTCP. Thus, 100%, in all, had to be examined radiologically.
Conclusion: Physician’s belief that chest X-ray is the most important initial investigation of pulmonary tuberculosis needs a change or else the NTCP’s curtailing of radiological examination will become meaningless.