Appendix 20. Treatment supporters

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    Update: January 2022


    Treatment supporters need specific training to know and understand their role in order to provide the patient with adequate treatment education and support.
    They should be compensated for their time and services and reimbursed for expenses incurred.

    20.1 Selecting a treatment supporter

    The treatment supporter a Citation a. From USAID TB CARE II (2017). Community-based Care for Drug-resistant Tuberculosis: A Guide for Implementers. Version 3. Updated in 2017.

    • Is someone from the patient’s commmunity;
    • Is preferably a community health worker or a person with  a background in health (e.g. pharmacist), but can also be a non health worker (co-worker or neighbour);
    • Is chosen by, or is acceptable to, the patient and their family (e.g. supporter and patient of the same sex);
    • Is able to observe the patient’s confidentiality;
    • Has a stable living situation;
    • Has basic literacy skills (can read and write and has basic numeracy skills);
    • Is motivated to care for TB patients and committed to supporting them for the full duration of treatment;
    • Lives near enough to the patient to be able to make regular visits (daily or weekly) and go to their home immediately in the event of an emergency;
    • Is in good physical condition and not immune­depressed b Citation b. The most common cause of immunosuppression is HIV infection, but chronic illnesses such as diabetes also alter the immune system and are a risk factor for TB infection and active TB. .


    It is usually not recommended to have family members as treatment supporters. The family relationship may interfere with the ability to administer TB treatment, especially if the patient is a child.

    20.2 Roles and responsibilities

    Role and responsibilities of a treatment supporter may include:

    • Supervision of all drug intakes and keeping records on TB treatment card.
    • Detection of adverse effects and, when necessary, prompt referal of the patient to a health facility.
    • Accompanying the patient to medical consultations.
    • Collection and transport of sputum specimens for bacteriological examinations.
    • Provision of health education to family members, including the risk of transmission and implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the home.
    • Detection of signs and symptoms of TB in family members.
    • Participation in refresher trainings.