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Tubercle. 1991 Jun;72(2):140-4.

Supervised out-patient treatment of tuberculosis: evaluation of a South African rural programme.

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  • 1Tuberculosis Research Institute, South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria.


We investigated a supervised out-patient treatment programme, operating in a predominantly rural area of KwaZulu, South Africa, for black tuberculosis patients. In particular, we evaluated treatment outcomes over a 3-year period (July 1987 to December 1989) and community involvement in the programme. In 1987 there were 118 patients (67 males, 31 females and 20 children) on the programme; 188 patients (106 males, 46 females and 36 children) in 1988; and 230 patients (112 males, 49 females and 69 children) in 1989. Analysis of treatment outcomes showed that 88% completed treatment, 8.5% defaulted and 3.4% died in 1987; 93% completed treatment, 4% defaulted and 3% died in 1988; 94% completed treatment, 3% defaulted and 3% died in 1989. The majority of patients were supervised by Voluntary Health Workers (68% in 1987, 82% in 1988 and 83% in 1989). Only four patients were readmitted to the hospital due to an unreliable health worker in this 3-year period. These findings suggest that the supervised out-patient treatment programme is meeting the ultimate aims of control; namely, holding and curing patients through community involvement and responsible participation.

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