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Free Content Factors affecting patient compliance with anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy using the directly observed treatment, short-course strategy (DOTS)

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SETTING: Kota Kinabalu and surrounding communities in Sabah, Malaysia.

OBJECTIVES: To establish factors affecting compliance of patients with anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy, their knowledge of the disease, and views on improving the DOTS strategy.

DESIGN: Interviews with compliant patients attending clinics for DOTS treatment and with non-compliant patients in their homes, in August and September 2000.

RESULTS: A total of 63 compliant and 23 non-compliant patients were interviewed. For non-compliant patients, reaching the treatment centre entailed greater cost (P < 0.005) and travel time (P < 0.005) compared to compliant patients. Cost of transport was the reason most frequently given for non-attendance. Non-compliant patients were more likely to have completed secondary education (P < 0.05), and to be working (P < 0.01). More non-compliant patients had family members who had had the disease (P < 0.01). There was no difference between the groups for overall tuberculosis knowledge scores; however, non-compliant patients were more likely to think that treatment could be stopped once they were symptom free (P < 0.01). Most patients (73%) felt that the DOTS system could be improved by provision of more information about tuberculosis.

CONCLUSION: Compliance with DOTS in the Kota Kinabalu area is affected by travel expenses, time spent travelling to treatment centres, and having family members who have had the disease. Patients would like more information on tuberculosis.

Keywords: DOTS; South-East Asia; compliance; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: University of Leeds School of Medicine, Leeds, UK 2: Unit of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Department, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia 3: Department of Respiratory Medicine, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, UK

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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