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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 1999 Dec;3(12):1081-7.

Who fails to complete tuberculosis treatment? Temporal trends and risk factors for treatment interruption in a community-based directly observed therapy programme in a rural district of South Africa.

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Centre for Epidemiological Research in Southern Africa, South African Medical Research Council.



Hlabisa Tuberculosis Programme, Hlabisa, South Africa.


To determine trends in and risk factors for interruption of tuberculosis treatment.


Data were extracted from the control programme database starting in 1991. Temporal trends in treatment interruption are described; independent risk factors for treatment interruption were determined with a multiple logistic regression model, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves for treatment interruption were constructed for patients treated in 1994-1995.


Overall 629 of 3,610 surviving patients (17%) failed to complete treatment; this proportion increased from 11% (n = 79) in 1991/1992 to 22% (n = 201) in 1996. Independent risk factors for treatment interruption were diagnosis between 1994-1996 compared with 1991-1993 (odds ratio [OR] 1.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6-2.4); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positivity compared with HIV negativity (OR 1.8, 95%CI 1.4-2.4); supervised by village clinic compared with community health worker (OR 1.9, 95%CI 1.4-2.6); and male versus female sex (OR 1.3, 95%CI 1.1-1.6). Few patients interrupted treatment during the first 2 weeks, and the treatment interruption rate thereafter was constant at 1% per 14 days.


Frequency of treatment interruption from this programme has increased recently. The strongest risk factor was year of diagnosis, perhaps reflecting the impact of an increased caseload on programme performance. Ensuring adherence to therapy in communities with a high level of migration remains a challenge even within community-based directly observed therapy programmes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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