Using hospital auxiliary worker and 24-h TB services as potential tools to overcome in-hospital TB delays: a quasi-experimental study

Miguelhete Lisboa, I Fronteira, Paul H. Mason, MR Martins

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In-hospital logistic management barriers (LMB) are considered to be important risk factors for delays in TB diagnosis and treatment initiation (TB-dt), which perpetuates TB transmission and the development of TB morbidity and mortality. We assessed the contribution of hospital auxiliary workers (HAWs) and 24-h TB laboratory services using Xpert (24h-Xpert) on the delays in TB-dt and TB mortality at Beira Central Hospital, Mozambique.

A quasi-experimental design was used. Implementation strategy—HAWs and laboratory technicians were selected and trained, accordingly. Interventions—having trained HAW and TB laboratory technicians as expediters of TB LMB issues and assurer of 24h-Xpert, respectively. Implementation outcomes—time from hospital admission to sputum examination results, time from hospital admission to treatment initiation, proportion of same-day TB cases diagnosed, initiated TB treatment, and TB patient with unfavorable outcome after hospitalization (hospital TB mortality). A nonparametric test was used to test the differences between groups and adjusted OR (95% CI) were computed using multivariate logistic regression.

We recruited 522 TB patients. Median (IQR) age was 34 (16) years, and 52% were from intervention site, 58% males, 60% new case of TB, 12% MDR-TB, 72% TB/HIV co-infected, and 43% on HIV treatment at admission. In the intervention hospital, 93% of patients had same-day TB-dt in comparison with a median (IQR) time of 15 (2) days in the control hospital. TB mortality in the intervention hospital was lower than that in the control hospital (13% vs 49%). TB patients admitted to the intervention hospital were nine times more likely to obtain an early laboratory diagnosis of TB, six times more likely to reduce delays in TB treatment initiation, and eight times less likely to die, when compared to those who were admitted to the control hospital, adjusting for other factors.

In-hospital delays in TB-dt and high TB mortality in Mozambique are common and probably due, in part, to LMB amenable to poor-quality TB care. Task shifting of TB logistic management services to HAWs and lower laboratory technicians, to ensure 24h-Xpert through “on-the-spot strategy,” may contribute to timely TB detection, proper treatment, and reduction of TB mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Pages (from-to)28-39
Number of pages11
JournalHuman resources for health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020


  • Tuberculosis
  • Hospital auxiliary workers
  • 24-h TB laboratory using Xpert
  • Same-day TB diagnosis and treatment
  • Hospital TB mortality


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