Treatment Supporters and Their Impact on Treatment Outcomes in Routine Tuberculosis Program Conditions in Rawalpindi District, Pakistan


1 Department of Community Medicine, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Larkana, Pakistan,

2 Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway.

3 National TB Control Program, Pakistan,

4 Association for Social Development, Pakistan,


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of mortality affecting millions of people in third world countries. In DOTS monitoring of patients is facilitybased and treatment supporter-based; by these two ways patients’ compliance to treatment is monitored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of treatment supporters and their impact on patients’ treatment outcomes. Materials and Methods: The study was a cross-sectional survey in the routine TB control program operational context. All sputum smear positive TB patients that were diagnosed and registered by the public sector in the urban and rural diagnostic centers in 2008 with available outcomes were included in the study. Data of 451 patients were collected during August-October 2010 from 15 health facilities. Results: The majority of patients (89.6%) were provided with treatment supporters. Of 404 (89.6%) cases with treatment supporters, in 203 (50.2%) the supporters were lady health workers, in 46 (11.4%) were community health workers and health facility workers, and in 155 (38.4%) were family members and community volunteers. A total of 384 (85.1%) were categorized as “treatment success”, 31 (6.9%), as “transferred out”, 17 (3.8%), as “expired”, 16 (3.5%) as “defaulted” and three (0.7%) as “treatment failure”. The treatment success rates in patients supervised by Lady health workers, community health workers and health facility workers, and family members and community volunteers were 93.1%, 89.1% and 73.5%, respectively. Conclusion: We found a significantly higher treatment success rate (93.1%) in patients supervised by lady health workers compared to others. The overall treatment success rate was 85.1%.