Setting: Tuberculosis programme in six camps (Benaco, Musuhura, Lumasi, Lukole, Keza and Kitali) for Rwandan and Burundian refugees in Ngara district, Tanzania, where treatment was directly observed throughout.
Objectives: To evaluate the treatment outcome of sputum smear-positive tuberculosis cases recruited in refugee camps in Ngara, and to determine the cumulative frequency of conversion of sputum smears by direct microscopy.
Design: Retrospective review of tuberculosis registers from January 1995 to December 1999.
Results: Of 546 patients with smear-positive tuberculosis who were notified in the programme, 363 (66.5%) had completed treatment and were bacteriologically cured after 7 months, 10.9% had died, 7.1% had defaulted and 14.5% had transferred out. Sputum conversion after the 2-month intensive phase was 88%, and increased to 99% after 7 months of chemotherapy.
Conclusion: The involvement of the Tanzania NTLP in collaboration with health NGOs has led to a satisfactory outcome. These data suggest that it is possible for tuberculosis control programmes to perform successfully in refugee settings.