Journal Article: Role of Treatment Supporters Beyond Monitoring Drug Intake for TB Patients in Nigeria
The Global Fund Tuberculosis project team of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) conducted an operations research on the use of treatment supporters in the treatment and management of tuberculosis patients in Nigeria.
The journal article was published in the Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology in April 2017.
The study found that treatment supporters play more roles beyond monitoring daily drug intake for TB patients in Nigeria. Based on these results of the study, financial support to TB patients for feeding and transportation to treatment centres, among other factors, is a major factor to ensure that the very poor patients who really need this support, complete their treatment.
This research was conducted in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja of Nigeria and aimed at discovering areas of support needs required by TB patients from Treatment Supporters (TS), from the perspectives of TB patients, as compared to what the managers of TB program consider as ideal support. Here, qualitative design using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), In-depth Interview (IDI) and Key Informant Interview (KII) were used. From the study, TB patients expressed their support needs while on treatment as follows: (1) monitoring and supervision of daily drug in-take, (2) motivational support to take the drugs as expected, (3) provision of support for feeding (when there is no food or means of eating), and (4) support for provision of transportation cost to visit TB clinic when the need arises. The study thus revealed that left on their own, TB patients may not be committed to taking their drugs and complete their treatment regimen, if any of these supports is lacking while on treatment. Patients with Treatment Supporters who were offered these supports, tend to complete their treatment regimen and not likely to default.