Evaluation of a unified treatment regimen for all new cases of tuberculosis using guardian-based supervision
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether directly observed treatment (DOT) during the initial phase of treatment supervised either in hospital, at health centres or by guardians in the community, was associated with 1) satisfactory 2-month and 8-month treatment outcomes, and 2) with a reduction of in-patient hospital-bed days.
DESIGN: Prospective data collection of all tuberculosis (TB) patients registered between 1 April 1996 and 30 June 1997, with 2-month and 8-month treatment outcomes, sputum smear conversion in smear-positive pulmonary TB patients (PTB) and in-patient hospital-bed days.
RESULTS: Among the 600 new patients, 302 had smear-positive PTB, 150 smear-negative PTB and 148 extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB). Eight-month treatment completion was 65% for smear-positive PTB patients, which was significantly higher than in patients with smear-negative PTB (45%) and EPTB (54%), due mainly to high 8-month mortality rates. The site of the intensive phase was determined in 596 patients: 178 (30%) received DOT from guardians, 115 (19%) from a health centre and 303 (51%) in hospital. At 2 months, mortality rates were significantly higher in hospitalised patients. Two-month treatment outcomes (including sputum smear conversion rates in smear-positive PTB patients) were similar between patients receiving DOT at health centres or from guardians. Decentralised DOT resulted in a 25% reduction in hospital-bed days in patients alive at 2 months compared with that predicted using the old regimens.
CONCLUSION: Decentralising DOT to health centres and to guardians during the intensive phase is associated with satisfactory treatment outcomes.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Community Health Science Unit, Lilongwe, Malawi 2: The Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Association (KNCV), The Hague, The Netherlands 3: Norwegian Health Association (Council of Tuberculosis), Voss, Norway
Publication date: 2000-04-01
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