Use of interactive messaging to reduce pre-diagnosis loss to follow-up for TB care
METHODS: We enrolled adults (≥18 years) who underwent routine sputum TB testing in two primary healthcare clinics in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. The intervention consisted of structured WhatsApp-based reminders (prompts) sent prior to a routine clinic appointment scheduled 2–3 days after the diagnostic visit. Pre-diagnosis LTFU was defined as failure to return for the scheduled appointment and within 10 days.
RESULTS: We approached 332 adults with presumptive TB, of whom 103 (31%) were successfully enrolled; 213 (64%) did not own a WhatsApp-compatible phone. Of 103 participants, 74 (72%) actively responded to WhatsApp prompts; 69 (67%) opted to include a close contact in group communication to co-receive reminders. Pre-diagnosis LTFU was low overall (n = 7, 6.8%) and was not associated with failure to respond to WhatsApp prompts.
CONCLUSION: In this high-incidence setting, enrolment in a WhatsApp-based communication intervention among adults with presumptive TB was low, mainly due to low availability of WhatsApp-compatible phones. Among participants, we observed high message response rates and low LTFU, suggesting potential for interactive messaging services to support pre-diagnosis TB care.
Keywords: South Africa; WhatsApp; digital health tools; loss to follow-up; tuberculosis
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa, DSI-NRF South African Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Publication date: January 1, 2022
The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.
The IJTLD is dedicated to understanding lung disease and to the dissemination of knowledge leading to better lung health. To allow us to share scientific research as rapidly as possible, the IJTLD is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles as preprints prior to their publication. Read fast-track articles.
- Editorial Board
- Information for Authors
- Subscribe to this Title
- International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
- Public Health Action
- Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
- Access Key
- Free content
- Partial Free content
- New content
- Open access content
- Partial Open access content
- Subscribed content
- Partial Subscribed content
- Free trial content