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Effect of Global Fund financial support for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

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SETTING: The Global Fund provides financial support for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), patients' families and hospitals providing services for these patients in Thailand, but the impact of this support has not been evaluated.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of Global Fund financial support on drug adherence, out-of-pocket (OOP) payments, sputum culture conversion and the perception of the usefulness of this support.

DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study was conducted in eight provincial hospitals with and without financial support in four regions of Thailand. MDR-TB patients aged ≥15 years registered in 2015–2016 who received treatment at these hospitals for at least 6 months were included.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in drug adherence rates. The OOP payments during treatment were significantly lower in patients who received financial support (P < 0.001). Although the supported group had higher positive culture rates at the beginning of treatment, sputum converted at a faster rate than for the unsupported group (P = 0.034). More than 80% of both groups perceived financial support as being useful, leading to faster diagnosis and improving follow-up compliance.

CONCLUSION: Financial support for MDR-TB patients has a positive impact on treatment and should be continued.
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Keywords: conversion rate; drug adherence; perception of financial support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Office of Disease Prevention and Control 12, Ministry of Public Health, Songkhla 2: Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 3: Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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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 lung health world-wide.

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