Adherence to tuberculosis therapy among patients receiving home-based directly observed treatment: evidence from the United Republic of Tanzania


BACKGROUND: Non-adherence to tuberculosis (TB) treatment is the leading contributor to the selection of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and subsequent treatment failure. Tanzania introduced a TB Patient Centred Treatment (PCT) approach which gives new TB patients the choice between home-based treatment supervised by a treatment supporter of their own choice, and health facility-based treatment observed by a medical professional. The aim of this study was to assess the extent and determinants of adherence to anti-TB therapy in patients opting for home-based treatment under the novel PCT approach. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, the primary outcome was the percentage of patients adherent to TB therapy as detected by the presence of isoniazid in urine (IsoScreen assay). The primary analysis followed a non-inferiority approach in which adherence could not be lower than 75%. Logistic regression was used to examine the influence of potentially predictive factors. RESULTS: A total of 651 new TB patients were included. Of these, 645 (99.1%) provided urine for testing and 617 patients (95.7%; 90%CI 94.3-96.9) showed a positive result. This result was statistically non-inferior to the postulated adherence level of 75% (ptextless0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to TB therapy under home-based Directly Observed Treatment can be ensured in programmatic settings. A reliable supply of medication and the careful selection of treatment supporters, who preferably live very close to the patient, are crucial success factors. Finally, we recommend a cohort study to assess the rate of adherence throughout the full course of TB treatment.

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