JSI Staff Publish New Article on Ensuring TB Treatment Adherence

August 26th, 2019 | News

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A new article in PLoS One looks at lessons learned from MEASURE Evaluation on program retention for tuberculosis treatment in Ukraine. What works best for ensuring treatment adherence. Lessons from a social support program for people treated for tuberculosis in Ukraine shows that Ukraine was successful in reducing treatment default among patients at high risk of default because it directly addressed most of the major barriers they faced to treatment adherence.

Worldwide, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and is the leading cause of a single infectious agent. Ukraine is one of 30 countries with the highest burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Global literature shows that social support (SS) is important in improving TB treatment adherence, reducing loss to follow up rates and improving treatment outcomes. There are several models of SS available, and the literature provides little information on what aspects of SS are most important to TB patients in improving their adherence.

JSI’s Stephanie Mullen joined fellow implementing partners of the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation program to better understand how and why the SS program in Ukraine supported adherence among TB patients at high risk of default. The main barriers to treatment retention included side effects from the medicine, the amount of time required daily for transportation and waiting in lines at the health facility, transportation expenses, risks of being identified when visiting a TB facility and lack of motivation to seek treatment. Features of the SS program most valued by patients were the convenience of not having to visit the facility and support provided by nurses. These two features directly addressed most of the barriers identified. The commitment and qualities of the nurses that provided the SS was an important element of the program.

What works best for ensuring treatment adherence. Lessons from a social support program for people treated for tuberculosis in UkrainePLoS ONE, August 2019.

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