Reasons for default from treatment of chronic illnesses in a primary healthcare program in rural Tamil Nadu Academic Article uri icon


  • Chronic illnesses are an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in rural India. Many patients default from treatment, and exploring their reasons for the same may suggest strategies to improve service accessibility and acceptability. A qualitative study was conducted of 22 patient interviews, six key informant interviews, and two patient focus group discussions for investigating the reasons for default at the KC Patty Primary Health Centre and surrounding villages in Kodaikanal Taluk, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. The reasons included money or transport difficulties, frequent travel, feeling healthy, focus on work, fear of scolding from clinic staff, medication side effects, preference for alternative therapy, and depression. Some reasons were only divulged after an extended discussion. Support from families and village-level health workers (VLHWs) were also identified as important. Recommendations include more open and patient communication between health workers and defaulting patients, in addition to recruitment of more VLHWs.

publication date

  • 2013