Original Research

Effectiveness of home-based directly observed treatment for tuberculosis in Kweneng West subdistrict, Botswana

Bob Mash, Diulu Kabongo
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 2, No 1 | a168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v2i1.168 | © 2010 Bob Mash, Diulu Kabongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 February 2010 | Published: 22 October 2010

About the author(s)

Bob Mash, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Diulu Kabongo, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Background: Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV are major public health problems in Botswana. In the face of growing TB notification rates, a low cure rate, human resource constraints and poor accessibility to health facilities, Botswana Ministry of Health decided to offer home-based directly observed treatment (DOT) using community volunteers.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the outcomes of home-based directly observed treatment (HB-DOT) versus facility-based, directly observed treatment (FB-DOT) in the Kweneng West subdistrict in Botswana and to explore the acceptability of HB-DOT among TB patients,community volunteers and health workers.

Method: A quantitative, observational study using routinely collected TB data from 405 TB patientswas conducted and combined with 20 qualitative in-depth interviews.

Results: The overall cure rate for smear-positive pulmonary TB patients was 78.5%. Treatmentoutcomes were not statistically different between FB-DOT and HB-DOT. Contact tracing was significantly better in FB-DOT patients. Interviews revealed advantages and disadvantages for both FB and HB options and that flexibility in the choice or mix of options was important. A number of suggestions were made by the interviewees to improve the HB-DOT programme.

Conclusion: HB-DOT is at least as good as FB-DOT in terms of the treatment outcomes, but attention must be given to contact tracing. HB-DOT offers some patients the flexibility they need to adhere to TB treatment and community volunteers may be strengthened by ongoing training and support from health workers, financial incentives and provision of basic equipment.


adherence; Botswana; directly observed treatment; district health systems; home-based care; Tuberculosis


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