This study was undertaken to assess the healthcare needs of people with tuberculosis (TB) in the rural district of Lubombo in Swaziland, with a view to improving the delivery of healthcare services. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to describe the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of TB patients, the epidemiology of TB, and the strengths and weaknesses of the current TB control programme. The incidence of TB is rising rapidly in this rural region of Swaziland. Poor treatment completion rates indicate low levels of knowledge about the importance of compliance with TB treatment among many other factors. If local health services are to cope with future rising demands, then efforts must be made to implement a community-based TB treatment strategy. Key practical steps in establishing such a programme are discussed, and the experience from Lubombo is used to demonstrate the steps in performing a health needs assessment in a developing country.