BACKGROUND: The Direct Observation of Treatment (DOT) is an important component of the country's TB Control strategy. Standards of TB care in India and the End TB strategy emphasised the importance of a patient-centered approach to foster adherence. A qualitative study was conducted to explore the perception of people with Tuberculosis in Kerala regarding DOT, mechanisms to make the treatment of TB more patients centered and to identify the preferable mechanisms to ensure adherence. METHODS:Six focus group discussions were conducted - two among people with TB from rural area, two among people with TB in urban area, one among multipurpose health workers of rural area and one among key field staff of TB control in urban area.
RESULTS: Patients who were on a strict DOT were unhappy about the issues of confidentiality, patient inconvenience and provider centered approach. A flexible, patient centered approach were a family member can act as the DOT provider with guidance from a trained health worker was evolved as the most acceptable and comfortable mode of treatment to majority of the TB patients. They felt that a strict external monitor as a DOT provider was not a necessity in majority of the cases. Only practical way to effectively incorporate ICT in monitoring patient compliance in current scenario was identified as daily phone call reminders. Patients also expressed their concerns in keeping the medicines for entire duration at home.
CONCLUSION: A flexible patient wise individualized system based on patient's behavior, literacy and awareness along with attitude of family members is needed to ensure adherence to anti TB drugs.
P. S. Rakesh, Balakrishnan, S., Krishnaveni, V., Narayanan, V., Pillai, S., and Thomas, S. Merin, “Patients' perception towards directly observed treatment - A qualitative study from Kollam district, Kerala, southern India.”, The Indian journal of tuberculosis, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 93-98, 2017.