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Mobile phone interventions for tuberculosis should ensure access to mobile phones to enhance equity - A prospective, observational cohort study in Peruvian shantytowns

Saunders, Matthew J., Wingfield, Tom ORCID:, Tovar, Marco A., Herlihy, Niamh, Rocha, Claudio, Zevallos, Karine, Montoya, Rosario, Ramos, Eric, Datta, Sumona and Evans, Carlton A. (2018) 'Mobile phone interventions for tuberculosis should ensure access to mobile phones to enhance equity - A prospective, observational cohort study in Peruvian shantytowns'. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol 23, Issue 8, pp. 850-859.

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Mobile phone interventions have been advocated for tuberculosis care, but little is known about access of target populations to mobile phones. We studied mobile phone access amongst patients with tuberculosis, focusing on vulnerable patients and patients who later had adverse treatment outcomes.


In a prospective cohort study in Callao, Peru, we recruited and interviewed 2,584 patients with tuberculosis between 2007‐2013 and followed them until 2016 for adverse treatment outcomes using national treatment registers. Subsequently, we recruited a further 622 patients between 2016‐2017. Data were analysed using logistic regression and by calculating relative risks (RR).


Between 2007‐2013, the proportion of the general population of Peru without mobile phone access averaged 7.8% but for patients with tuberculosis was 18% (p<0.001). Patients without access were more likely to hold a lower socioeconomic position, suffer from food insecurity and be older than 50 years (all p<0.01). Compared to patients with mobile phone access, patients without access at recruitment were more likely to subsequently have incomplete treatment (20% versus 13%, RR=1.5; p=0.001) or an adverse treatment outcome (29% versus 23% RR=1.3; p=0.006). Between 2016 and 2017, the proportion of patients without access dropped to 8.9% overall, but remained the same (18%) as in 2012 among the poorest third.


Access to mobile phones among patients with tuberculosis is insufficient, and rarest in patients who are poorer and later have adverse treatment outcomes. Thus, mobile phone interventions to improve tuberculosis care may be least accessed by the priority populations for whom they are intended. Such interventions should ensure access to mobile phones to enhance equity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 83 Telemedicine (General)
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WF Respiratory System > Tuberculosis > WF 200 Tuberculosis (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2018 11:40
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2019 15:19


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