Mobile health to improve adherence to tuberculosis treatment in Khartoum state, Sudan
Keywords:Tuberculosis, default, non-adherence, adherence, mobile health
Although tuberculosis is a treatable disease, the high frequency of treatment default remains a challenge. The use of mobile phones structurally in a TB program has the potential to lower the frequency of default. However, it’s impact on treatment outcome in Sudan has not yet been evaluated. The aim is to evaluate the potential use of cell phones for lowering treatment default. We conducted a controlled intervention pilot study during the period from 1st of May 2017 to 31st of March 2018, in eight TB treatment units in Khartoum state, Sudan. Newly diagnosed patient with positive sputum smear on DOTS therapy were enrolled in intervention and control groups. SMS reminder were sent to the intervention group.Assessments were done at the beginning and at the end of the treatment. One hundred and forty-eight patients were enrolled, seventy-four patients in each group.The participants in the two groups were similar in demographic characteristics and behavioral and knowledge related factors about TB disease at baseline. The patients in the intervention group had a lower default rate (6.8%), higher documented cure rate (78.4%), better knowledge compared to control group. SMS reminder was useful and facilitated good interaction between patients and health personnel. Mobile texting seemed useful and was highly accepted by participants. Further evaluation of it’s potential benefit was warranted.