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Free Content Lay health worker intervention with choice of DOT superior to standard TB care for farm dwellers in South Africa: a cluster randomised control trial

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Abstract:

SETTING: Farms in the Boland health district, Western Cape Province, South Africa.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of lay health workers (LHWs) on tuberculosis (TB) control among permanent farm workers and farm dwellers in an area with particularly high TB prevalence.

DESIGN: Pragmatic, unblinded cluster randomised control trial.

METHODS: This trial measured successful treatment completion rates among new smear-positive (NSP) adult TB patients on 106 intervention farms, and compared them with outcomes in patients on 105 control farms. Farms were the unit of randomisation, and analysis was by intention to treat.

RESULTS: A total of 164 adult TB patients were recruited into the study, 89 of whom were NSP. The successful treatment completion rate in NSP adult TB patients was 18.7% higher (P = 0.042, 95%CI 0.9–36.4) on farms in the intervention group than on farms in the control group. Case finding for adult NSP TB cases was 8% higher (P = 0.2671) on farms in the intervention group compared to the control group.

CONCLUSION: Trained LHWs were able to improve the successful TB treatment rate among adult NSP TB patients in a well-established health service, despite reduction of services.

Keywords: agricultural sector; directly observed treatment; lay health workers; randomised control trial; tuberculosis case holding

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of International Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; and Faculty of Applied Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa 2: Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Parow, South Africa 3: Biostatistics Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Parow, South Africa 4: Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of International Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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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