Successful expansion of community-based drug-resistant TB care in rural Eswatini - a retrospective cohort study.
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AbstractOBJECTIVES: Provision of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) treatment is scarce in resource-limited settings. We assessed the feasibility of ambulatory DR-TB care for treatment expansion in rural Eswatini. METHODS: Retrospective patient-level data were used to evaluate ambulatory DR-TB treatment provision in rural Shiselweni (Eswatini), from 2008 to 2016. DR-TB care was either clinic-based led by nurses or community-based at the patient's home with involvement of community treatment supporters for provision of treatment to patients with difficulties in accessing facilities. We describe programmatic outcomes and used multivariate flexible parametric survival models to assess time to adverse outcomes. Both care models were costed in supplementary analyses. RESULTS: Of 698 patients initiated on DR-TB treatment, 57% were women and 84% were HIV-positive. Treatment initiations increased from 27 in 2008 to 127 in 2011 and decreased thereafter to 51 in 2016. Proportionally, community-based care increased from 19% in 2009 to 77% in 2016. Treatment success was higher for community-based care (79%) than clinic-based care (68%, P = 0.002). After adjustment for covariate factors among adults (n = 552), the risk of adverse outcomes (death, loss to follow-up, treatment failure) in community-based care was reduced by 41% (adjusted hazard ratio 0.59, 95% CI: 0.39-0.91). Findings were supported by sensitivity analyses. The care provider's per-patient costs for community-based (USD13 345) and clinic-based (USD12 990) care were similar. CONCLUSIONS: Ambulatory treatment outcomes were good, and community-based care achieved better treatment outcomes than clinic-based care at comparable costs. Contextualised DR-TB care programmes are feasible and can support treatment expansion in rural settings.
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