Evaluation of a nurse practitioner-physician task-sharing model for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa
by Jason E. Farley, Norbert Ndjeka, Ana M. Kelly, Erin Whitehouse, Simmi Lachman, Chakra Budhathoki, Kelly Lowensen, Ellie Bergren, Hloniphile Mabuza, Ntombasekhaya Mlandu, Martie van der WaltBackground
Treatment success rates for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in South Africa remain close to 50%. Lack of access to timely, decentralized care is a contributing factor. We evaluated MDR-TB treatment outcomes from a clinical cohort with task-sharing between a clinical nurse practitioner (CNP) and a medical officer (MO).Methods
We completed a retrospective evaluation of outcomes from a prospective, programmatically-based MDR-TB cohort who were enrolled and received care between 2012 and 2015 at a peri-urban hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Treatment was provided by either by a CNP or MO.Findings
The cohort included 197 participants with a median age of 33 years, 51% female, and 74% co-infected with HIV. The CNP initiated 123 participants on treatment. Overall MDR-TB treatment success rate in this cohort was 57.9%, significantly higher than the South African national average of 45% in 2012 (p<0·0001) and similar to the provincal average of 60% (p = NS). There were no significant differences by provider type: treatment success was 61% for patients initiated by the CNP and 52.7% for those initiated by the MO.Interpretation
Clinics that adopted a task sharing approach for MDR-TB demonstrated greater treatment success rates than the national average. Task-sharing between the CNP and MO did not adversely impact treatment outcome with similar success rates noted. Task-sharing is a feasible option for South Africa to support decentralization without compromising patient outcomes. Models that allow sharing of responsibility for MDR-TB may optimize the use of human resources and improve access to care.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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