Assessment of patient preference in allocation and observation of anti-tuberculosis medication in three districts in Tanzania.
Background: The new tuberculosis (TB) treatment in Tanzania contains rifampicin for six months. Direct observation of drug intake at the health facility for this period is not feasible.
Methods: Patients and health staff in three districts were interviewed to assess the burden of the current treatment strategy, and opinions on a proposed new strategy where patients are able to choose the place of treatment and the treatment supervisor, and receive treatment as a daily combination tablet.
Results: The study included 343 patients in 42 facilities. Daily collection of drugs was perceived as burdensome irrespective of distance needed to travel. Eighty percent of patients viewed medication taken at home or at a closer health facility as an improvement in TB-services. The proposed new treatment strategy was rated favorably by 85% of patients and 75% of health staff. Fifty-three percent of patients would opt for home-based treatment, and 75% would choose a family member or the spouse as treatment supporter.
Conclusion: Home-based supervision of TB treatment with fewer drugs is an expressed preference of TB patients in Tanzania. Such a strategy is now being assessed in a pilot study. If effective and feasible, the strategy will contribute to an improved TB control strategy.
Patient Preference and Adherence (2008) 2: 1-6 [DOI: 10.2147/PPA.SO]