Background: Swaziland has the highest national incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the world, with treatment success rates well below the 85 % international target. Treatment support as part of comprehensive TB services is a core component of the Stop TB Strategy. This study investigated the effects of financial incentives for treatment supporters on TB treatment outcomes in Swaziland.
Methods: This was a controlled study that compared treatment outcomes for patients with a treatment supporter who received or did not receive a financial incentive.
Results: The intervention group had a higher chance of treatment success as compared with the control group: 73 % (95 % confidence intervals [CIs] 66-80 %) versus 60 % (95 % CIs 57-64 %), respectively, p = 0.003. This improvement remained significant when treatment success rates were adjusted for differences in baseline characteristics, with the effect of incentivised treatment supporters on treatment outcomes having an odds ratio (OR) of 1.8. There was also a significant improvement in the death rate in the intervention group, as compared with the control group (10.6 versus 23.5 %, p = <0.001).
Conclusion: Incentives provided to TB treatment supporters appear to significantly improve TB treatment outcomes. Incentivising treatment support may be appropriate as an effective addition to support and supervision measures (199 words).
Keywords: Africa; Swaziland; Treatment success; Tuberculosis.