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Decentralized, Community-Based Treatment for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Bangladesh Program Experience
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Background: Bangladesh is a highly populous country where the prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is growing. With the rapid increase in DR-TB notifications through GeneXpert technology, it was imperative to come up with a new treatment strategy that could keep up with the increase of patients diagnosed.
Intervention: Intervention was designed to support national transition of DR-TB management of World Health Organization-approved long course (20-to-24-month regimen) treatment from a hospital-based approach to the decentralized model of community-based programmatic management of DR-TB (cPMDT). In close coordination with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National TB Program, patients were initiated into treatment at hospitals and then transferred to community-based care. A cadre of directly observed therapy providers supported treatment at the household level, supervised by the outpatient DR-TB teams.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive pre- and post-intervention study of all 1,946 DR-TB patients enrolled in treatment nationwide between May 2012 and June 2015. Data were collected from hospitals, patient cards, district records, and diagnostic laboratories through the National TB Program. Intervention results were assessed in comparison with the baseline (2011) indicators.
Results: During the intervention period, treatment enrollment of 1,946 diagnosed DR-TB patients through the national program increased from 50% in 2011 to 100% in 2015. The delay between diagnosis and treatment initiation decreased from 69 days in 2011 to 6 days in 2014. Most (95%) of the patients completed all scheduled follow-up smear and culture tests. By the sixth month of treatment, 99% of patients had negative smear conversion and 98% had negative culture conversion. The treatment success rate increased from 70% in 2011 to 76% in 2015 at the end of the intervention period. The results also indicate a decline between baseline and end line from 34% to 9% for patients died, 34% to 10% for loss to follow-up, and 1.7% to 0% for treatment failure.
Conclusions: Community-based management is an effective approach for increasing access to quality-assured DR-TB treatment. Using existing structures and resources, the intervention demonstrated that favorable treatment outcomes can be achieved and sustained by treating patients with DR-TB at their homes.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles