Knowledge, attitudes and practices of community treatment supporters administering multidrug-resistant tuberculosis injections: a cross-sectional study in rural Eswatini
Heunis, J. Christo
Kigozi, N. Gladys
De Graeve, Diana
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Background: This study assessed knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of lay community treatment supporters (CTSs) delegated with directly observed treatment (DOT) supervision and administration of intramuscular multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) injections in the Shiselweni region in Eswatini. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey among a purposive sample of 82 CTSs providing DOT and administering injections to MDR-TB patients was conducted in May 2017. Observations in the patients’ homes were undertaken to verify CTSs’ self-reported community-based MDR-TB management practices. Results: Out of 82 respondents, 78 (95.1%) were female and half (n = 41; 50.0%) had primary education or lower. Over one-tenth (n = 12; 14.6%) had not attended a MDR-TB training workshop, but were administering injections. The overall KAP scores were satisfactory. Good self-reported community-based MDR-TB practices were largely verified through observation. However, substantial proportions of respondents incorrectly defined MDR-TB, were unaware of the treatment regimen, stigmatised patients, and underreported needlestick injuries. There was no statistically significant association between duration administering intramuscular injections, MDR-TB training, knowledge and attitudes, and good community-based MDR-TB management practices. Conclusions: The gaps in the current KAP of CTSs in this setting raise questions about the timing, adequacy, design and content of community-based MDR-TB management training. Nonetheless, with appropriate training, lay CTSs in this region can be an option to complement an overstretched professional health workforce in providing DOT and MDR-TB injections at community level.