Background: In many countries with a high burden of tuberculosis, most patients receive treatment in the private sector. We evaluated a multifaceted case-detection strategy in Karachi, Pakistan, targeting the private sector. Methods: A year-long communications campaign advised people with 2 weeks or more of productive cough to seek care at one of 54 private family medical clinics or a private hospital that was also a national tuberculosis programme (NTP) reporting centre. Community laypeople participated as screeners, using an interactive algorithm on mobile phones to assess patients and visitors in family-clinic waiting areas and the hospital's outpatient department. Screeners received cash incentives for case detection. Patients with suspected tuberculosis also came directly to the hospital's tuberculosis clinic (self-referrals) or were referred there (referrals). The primary outcome was the change (from 2010 to 2011) in tuberculosis notifications to the NTP in the intervention area compared with that in an adjacent control area. Findings: Screeners assessed 388 196 individuals at family clinics and 81 700 at Indus Hospital's outpatient department from January-December, 2011. A total of 2416 tuberculosis cases were detected and notified via the NTP reporting centre at Indus Hospital: 603 through family clinics, 273 through the outpatient department, 1020 from self-referrals, and 520 from referrals. In the intervention area overall, tuberculosis case notification to the NTP increased two times (from 1569 to 3140 cases) from 2010 to 2011-a 2·21 times increase (95% CI 1·93-2·53) relative to the change in number of case notifications in the control area. From 2010 to 2011, pulmonary tuberculosis notifications at Indus Hospital increased by 3·77 times for adults and 7·32 times for children. Interpretation: Novel approaches to tuberculosis case-finding involving the private sector and using laypeople, mobile phone software and incentives, and communication campaigns can substantially increase case notification in dense urban settings. Funding: TB REACH, Stop TB Partnership.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases