Factors Influencing Patient Adherence to Tuberculosis Treatment in Ethiopia: A Literature Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 4;17(15):5626. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17155626.


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global public health problem and one of the leading causes of death among infectious diseases. Although TB can be cured with first-line antibiotics treatment of 6 months regimen, non-adherence to the treatment remains the main challenge for TB prevention and control. Interventions to promote adherence need to address multiple underlying factors linked to non-adherence, which requires a synthesis of studies to understand these factors in the local context. Our review accordingly examines these factors for TB treatment in Ethiopia.

Methods: Articles were searched from PubMed and ScienceDirect databases, as well as manual searches through Google and Google Scholar search engines. Both quantitative and qualitative studies that showed factors associated with or reasons for non-adherence, default or loss to follow up from TB treatment were included. A total of 276 articles were screened, and 29 articles were ultimately included in the review.

Findings: The extracted factors were synthesized thematically into seven dimensions of patient-centred, social, economic, health system, therapy, lifestyle, and geographic access factors. More than 20 distinct factors were identified under these headings. Some of these factors may also apply quite widely in other settings, with greater or lesser influence, but some are particularly applicable to the Ethiopian setting.

Conclusion: Helping patients to achieve full adherence to TB medication is a complex problem as it is influenced by interplay between many factors. Healthcare managers, providers, and researchers need to consider and address multiple underlying factors when designing adherence interventions. This work provides a reference set of such factors for Ethiopian interventions.

Keywords: Ethiopia; medication adherence; tuberculosis treatment.

Publication types

  • Review