Monitoring drug effectiveness in kala‐azar in Bihar, India: cost and feasibility of periodic random surveys
Objective In 2009, a random survey was conducted in Muzaffarpur district to document the clinical outcomes of visceral leishmaniasis patients (VL) treated by the public health care system in 2008, to assess the effectiveness of miltefosine against VL. We analysed the operational feasibility and cost of such periodic random surveys as compared with health facility‐based routine monitoring.
Methods A random sample of 150 patients was drawn from registers kept at Primary Health Care centres. Patient records were examined, and the patients were located at their residence. Patients and physicians were interviewed with the help of two specifically designed questionnaires by a team of one supervisor, one physician and one field worker. Costs incurred during this survey were properly documented, and vehicle log books maintained for analysis.
Results Hundred and 39 (76.7%) of the patients could be located. Eleven patients were not traceable. Per patient, follow‐up cost was US$ 15.51 and on average 2.27 patients could be visited per team‐day. Human resource involvement constituted 75% of the total cost whereas involvement of physician costs 51% of the total cost.
Conclusion A random survey to document clinical outcomes is costly and labour intensive but gives probably the most accurate information on drug effectiveness. A health service‐based retrospective cohort reporting system modelled on the monitoring system developed by tuberculosis programmes could be a better alternative. Involvement of community health workers in such monitoring would offer the additional advantage of treatment supervision and support.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India 2: Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit, Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
Publication date: 2011-09-01