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Free Content Initial default from tuberculosis treatment: how often does it happen and what are the reasons?

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A study in 11 primary health care facilities in and around Cape Town determined the proportion of bacteriologically confirmed tuberculosis (TB) cases who did not start treatment (initial default) and identified reasons for it. Databases from centralised laboratories were compared with electronic TB treatment registers. Fourteen per cent (373/2758) of TB suspects were TB cases. Of the 58 (16%) initial defaulters, 14 (24%) died, while 26 (45%) could not be interviewed for address-related reasons. The 18 subjects who were interviewed indicated reasons for initial default that were (56%) or were not (44%) directly linked to services. High initial default rates require improvement in the quality of health services.

Keywords: South Africa; initial default; treatment; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa 2: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands 3: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands; and CINIMA, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 4: National Health Laboratory Services, Cape Town, South Africa 5: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 6: Department of Health, City of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • 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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