Socio-protective effects of ACF on catastrophic costs from TB in Vietnam

Many TB patients incur catastrophic costs. Active case finding (ACF) may have socio-protective properties that could contribute to the WHO End TB Strategy target of zero TB-affected families suffering catastrophic costs, but available evidence remains limited. This study measured catastrophic cost incurrence and socioeconomic impact of an episode of TB and compared those socioeconomic burdens in patients detected by ACF versus passive case finding (PCF).

This cross-sectional study fielded a longitudinal adaptation of the WHO TB patient cost survey alongside an ACF intervention from March 2018 to March 2019. The study was conducted in six intervention (ACF) districts and six comparison (PCF) districts of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Fifty-two TB patients detected through ACF and 46 TB patients in the PCF cohort were surveyed within two weeks of treatment initiation, at the end of the intensive phase of treatment, and after treatment concluded. The survey measured income, direct and indirect costs, and socioeconomic impact based on which we calculated catastrophic cost as the primary outcome. Local currency was converted into US$ using the average exchange rates reported by OANDA for the study period (VNĐ1 = US$0.0000436, 2018–2019). We fitted logistic regressions for comparisons between the ACF and PCF cohorts as the primary exposures and used generalized estimating equations to adjust for autocorrelation.

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