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Use of eCompliance, an Innovative Biometric System for Monitoring of Tuberculosis Treatment in Rural Uganda

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  • School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York; Millennium Villages Project, Mbarara, Uganda; Global Health Corps; The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York

Directly observed therapy short-course (DOTS) requires direct observation of tuberculosis (TB) patients and manual recording of doses taken. Programmatically, manual tracking is both time-consuming and prone to human error. Our project in western Uganda assessed the impact on TB treatment outcomes of a comprehensive patient support program including eCompliance, a biometric medical record device, with the aim of increasing TB patient retention. Through an observational study of 142 patients, DOTS outcomes of patients in the intervention group were compared with two control groups. Descriptive statistical comparisons, case-cohort analysis, and difference in change over time were used to assess the impact. Intervention patients had a higher cure rate than all other patients (55.6% versus 28.3% [P < 0.01]) and the odds of having a “cured” outcome were 3.17 higher (P < 0.05). The intervention group had a statistically significantly lower odds of having a negative outcome (0% versus.17% [P < 0.01]) than patients from the control groups. Additionally, the intervention group had a lost to follow-up rate lower than all other groups (0% versus 7%) that was trending on significant. In resource-limited settings, implementing comprehensive DOTS including eCompliance may reduce the occurrence of negative DOTS outcomes for patients.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Yanis Ben Amor, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 520, New York, NY 100115. E-mail: yba2101@columbia.edu

Financial support: This publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIH), through Grant no. UL1 TR000040. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Authors' addresses: Sarah Jane Snidal, LifeNet International, Global Health Corps, Bujumbura, Burundi, E-mail: sarahjane.snidal@gmail.com. Genevieve Barnard, The Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship, Babson College, Wellesley, E-mail: gvbarnard@gmail.com. Emmanuel Atuhairwe, Millennium Villages Project, Mbarara, Uganda, E-mail: atuhairwe.emmanuel@gmail.com. Yanis Ben Amor, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, NY, E-mail: yba2101@columbia.edu.

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