BMC Research Notes (Jul 2012)

Sputum completion and conversion rates after intensive phase of tuberculosis treatment: an assessment of the Rwandan control program

  • Kayigamba Felix R,
  • Bakker Mirjam I,
  • Mugisha Veronicah,
  • Gasana Michel,
  • Schim van der Loeff Maarten F

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5, no. 1
p. 357


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Abstract Background In Rwanda tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major health problems. To contribute to an improved performance of the Rwandan National TB Control Program, we conducted a study with the following objectives: (1) to assess the completion rate of sputum smear examinations at the end of the intensive phase of TB treatment; (2) to assess the sputum conversion rate (SCR); (3) to assess associations between smear completion rate or SCR with key health facility characteristics. Methods TB registers in 89 health facilities in five provinces were reviewed. Data of new and retreatment smear-positive pulmonary TB (PTB+) cases registered between January and June 2006 were included in the study. Data on key characteristics of the selected health facilities were also collected. Results Among 1509 new PTB + cases, 32 (2.1%) had died by 2 months, and 178 (11.8%) had been transferred-out. Among the remaining 1299 patients, a smear examination at month 2 was done in 1039 (smear completion rate 80.0%). Among these 1039, 852 (82.0%) had become smear-negative. The smear completion rate and SCR varied considerably between health facilities. A high number of new PTB cases at a health facility was the only significant predictor of a low completion rate, while the only independent factor associated with low sputum conversion rates was rural (vs. urban) location of the health facility. Conclusions In Rwanda, too few patients get a smear examination after 2 months of TB treatment; the SCR among those with smear results was adequate at 82%. A high number of new TB patients at a health facility was a significant predictor of a low completion rate. The national TB control program should design strategies to improve completion rates.