SETTINGS: Sixteen prisons located in four geographic regions in Thailand. OBJECTIVES: To assess treatment outcomes of tuberculosis (TB) patients under the DOTS strategy in a prison programme. METHOD: The programme prospectively included 1412 consecutive TB patients registered during Year 1 (June 1999-May 2000), Year 2 (June 2000-May 2001) and Year 3 (June 2001-May 2002). DOTS implementation consisted of government commitment; passive detection by sputum smear microscopy; standardised short-course chemotherapy, including directly observed treatment by prison nurses; maintenance of drug stocks at provincial health offices; and a recording and reporting system. Data were collected using prison TB registers. RESULTS: The number of TB patients increased from 348 in Year 1 to 490 in Year 2 and to 574 in Year 3. New smear-positive patients accounted for 82.0% of the total. Of the 1158 new smear-positive cases, 68.7% were cured, 17.6% died, 10.6% were transferred out, 2.6% failed, and 0.5% completed treatment. CONCLUSIONS: DOTS implementation in these prisons could not achieve the national target to cure 85% of new smear-positive cases. More interventions are needed to help reduce the deaths and transferred cases that mainly affected the treatment outcomes in these settings.
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