Organisation of care for people receiving drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment in South Africa: a mixed methods study

Lindy Dickson, Sacha Roxanne Le Roux, Leila Mitrani, Jeremy Hill, Waasila Jassat, Helen Cox, Koleka Mlisana, John Black, Marian Loveday, Alison Grant, Karina Kielmann, Norbert Ndjeka, Mosa Moshabela, Mark Nicol

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OBJECTIVES: Treatment for multidrug-resistant/rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (MDR/RR-TB) is increasingly transitioning from hospital-centred to community-based care. A national policy for decentralised programmatic MDR/RR-TB care was adopted in South Africa in 2011. We explored variations in the implementation of care models in response to this change in policy, and the implications of these variations for people affected by MDR/RR-TB. DESIGN: A mixed methods study was done of patient movements between healthcare facilities, reconstructed from laboratory records. Facility visits and staff interviews were used to determine reasons for movements. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: People identified with MDR/RR-TB from 13 high-burden districts within South Africa. OUTCOME MEASURES: Geospatial movement patterns were used to identify organisational models. Reasons for patient movement and implications of different organisational models for people affected by MDR/RR-TB and the health system were determined. RESULTS: Among 191 participants, six dominant geospatial movement patterns were identified, which varied in average hospital stay (0-281 days), average patient distance travelled (12-198 km) and number of health facilities involved in care (1-5 facilities). More centralised models were associated with longer delays to treatment initiation and lengthy hospitalisation. Decentralised models facilitated family-centred care and were associated with reduced time to treatment and hospitalisation duration. Responsiveness to the needs of people affected by MDR/RR-TB and health system constraints was achieved through implementation of flexible models, or the implementation of multiple models in a district. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding how models for organising care have evolved may assist policy implementers to tailor implementation to promote particular patterns of care organisation or encourage flexibility, based on patient needs and local health system resources. Our approach can contribute towards the development of a health systems typology for understanding how policy-driven models of service delivery are implemented in the context of variable resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere067121
Number of pages14
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023


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