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Free Content A national infection control evaluation of drug-resistant tuberculosis hospitals in South Africa

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BACKGROUND: The importance of infection control (IC) in health care settings with tuberculosis (TB) patients has been highlighted by recent health care-associated outbreaks in South Africa.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct operational evaluations of IC in drug-resistant TB settings at a national level.

METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from June to September 2009 in all multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) facilities in South Africa. Structured interviews with key informants were completed, along with observation of IC practices. Health care workers (HCWs) were asked to complete an anonymous knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) questionnaire. Multilevel modeling was used to take into consideration the relationship between center and HCW level variables.

RESULTS: Twenty-four M(X)DR-TB facilities (100%) were enrolled. Facility infrastructure and staff adherence to IC recommendations were highly varied between facilities. Key informant interviews were incongruent with direct observation of practices in all settings. A total of 499 HCWs were enrolled in the KAP evaluation. Higher level of clinical training was associated with greater IC knowledge (P < 0.001), more appropriate attitudes (P < 0.001) and less time spent with coughing patients (P < 0.001). IC practices were poor across all disciplines.

CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate a clear need to improve and standardize IC infrastructure in drug-resistant TB settings in South Africa.
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Keywords: MDR-TB; South Africa; XDR-TB; infection control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2: South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa 3: Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon, USA 4: School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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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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