In Practice

Health system challenges: An obstacle to the success of isoniazid preventive therapy

E I Okoli, L Roets


Background. The researchers identified infection with HIV as the strongest risk factor in the reactivation of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection or progression to active disease. Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) is one of the interventions recommended by the World Health Organization and the South African (SA) National Department of Health to prevent progression to active TB disease in people living with HIV. Adherence to IPT is therefore the responsibility of healthcare clients and clinicians.

Objectives. To describe the incidence of TB among clients who received IPT, rates of completing and not completing IPT among those who started it, and the reasons for non-completion.

Methods. A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive retrospective cohort study was undertaken. The clinic records of 104 HIV-positive adults receiving care at a clinic in SA who started IPT between 1 July 2010 and 30 November 2011 were analysed.

Results. Sixty-six of 104 study respondents (63.5%) completed the IPT course. None of the respondents who completed IPT was diagnosed with TB, and 86.8% of the respondents who did not complete the programme did so because of the poor quality of healthcare they received, and not by their own choice.

Conclusion. The study results strengthened the findings of similar local and international studies that IPT is advantageous in the prevention of TB. The finding that so many patients did not complete the programme as a result of drug dispensing or prescription problems is alarming, and revealed a major shortcoming in the healthcare system.

Authors' affiliations

E I Okoli, Department of Internal Medicine, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Garankuwa, Pretoria, South Africa

L Roets, Department of Health Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria

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Incidence;Tuberculosis; HIV; AIDS; Adherence; Isoniazid; Therapy

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(11):1079-1081. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i11.10741

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-11-02
Date published: 2016-11-02

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