'I didn't know so many people cared about me': support for patients who interrupt drug-resistant TB treatment.
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AbstractSETTING: Early interventions for patients who interrupt their treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) are rarely reported and assessed. A novel, patient-centred intervention for patients at risk of loss to follow-up (LTFU) from DR-TB treatment was implemented in Khayelitsha, South Africa, in September 2013. OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences and perceptions of patients, key support persons, health care workers (HCWs) and programme managers of a patient-centred model. DESIGN: This was a qualitative study consisting of 18 in-depth interviews with patients, key support persons, HCWs, key informants and one focus group discussion with HCWs, between July and September 2017. Data were coded and thematically analysed. RESULTS: The model was well perceived and viewed positively by patients, care providers and programme managers. 'Normalisation' and tolerance of occasional treatment interruptions, tracing, tailored management plans and peer support were perceived to be beneficial for retaining patients in care. Although the model was resource-demanding, health workers were convinced that it 'needs to be sustained,' and proposed solutions for its standardisation. CONCLUSION: An intervention based on early tracing of patients who interrupt treatment, peer-delivered counselling and individualised management plans by a multidisciplinary team was considered a beneficial and acceptable model to support patients at risk of LTFU from DR-TB treatment.