Evaluation of lay health workers’ needs to effectively support anti-tuberculosis treatment adherence in Malawi.

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Evaluation of lay health workers' needs to effectively support anti-tuberculosis treatment adherence in Malawi.

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 Nov;16(11):1492-7

Authors: Puchalski Ritchie LM, van Lettow M, Barnsley J, Chan AK, Joshua M, Martiniuk AL, Schull MJ, Zwarenstein M

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To identify barriers and facilitators to efforts by lay health workers (LHWs) to support anti-tuberculosis treatment adherence in Malawi to inform the design of a knowledge translation intervention for improving adherence.
DESIGN: Qualitative study utilizing focus groups and interviews conducted with LHWs providing tuberculosis (TB) care in Zomba District, Malawi.
RESULTS: Participants identified lack of knowledge, both general (understanding of TB and its treatment) and job-specific (understanding of tasks such as completion of treatment forms), as the key barrier to LHWs in their role as adherence supporters. Lack of knowledge among LHWs providing TB care was reported to lead to a lack of confidence, conflicting messages given to patients, poor interactions with patients and errors in documentation. In addition to lack of knowledge, a number of system barriers were identified as limiting LHWs' ability to function optimally, including a lack of physical resources, workload, communication delays and ineffective guardians.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a gap between LHW knowledge and their responsibilities as adherence supporters. The results have informed the development of an educational outreach intervention and point-of-care tool, to be evaluated in a randomized trial in Zomba District.

PMID: 22964096 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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