Protocol of a parallel group Randomized Control Trial (RCT) for Mobile-assisted Medication Adherence Support (Ma-MAS) intervention among Tuberculosis patients

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Background Non-adherence to Tuberculosis (TB) medication is a serious threat to TB prevention and control programs, especially in resource-limited settings. The growth of the popularity of mobile phones provides opportunities to address non-adherence, by facilitating direct communication more frequently between healthcare providers and patients through SMS texts and voice phone calls. However, the existing evidence is inconsistent about the effect of SMS interventions on TB treatment adherence. Such interventions are also seldom developed based on appropriate theoretical foundations. Therefore, there is a reason to approach this problem more rigorously, by developing the intervention systematically with evidence-based theory and conducting the trial with strong measurement methods. Methods This study is a single-blind parallel-group design individual randomized control trial. A total of 186 participants (93 per group) will be individually randomized into one of the two groups with a 1:1 allocation ratio by a computer-generated algorithm. Group one (intervention) participants will receive daily SMS texts and weekly phone calls concerning their daily medication intake and medication refill clinic visit reminder and group two (control) participants will receive the same routine standard treatment care as the intervention group, but no SMS text and phone calls. All participants will be followed for two months of home-based self-administered medication during the continuation phases of the standard treatment period. Urine test for the presence of isoniazid (INH) drug metabolites in urine will be undertaken at the random point at the fourth and eighth weeks of intervention to measure medication adherence. Medication adherence will also be assessed by self-report measurements using the AIDS Clinical Trial Group adherence (ACTG) and Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) questionnaires, and clinic appointment attendance registration. Multivariable regression model analysis will be employed to assess the effect of the Ma-MAS intervention at a significance level of P-value < 0.05 with a 95% confidence interval. Discussion For this trial, a mobile-assisted medication adherence intervention will first be developed systematically based on the Medical Research Council framework using appropriate behavioural theory and evidence. The trial will then evaluate the effect of SMS texts and phone calls on TB medication adherence. Evidence generated from this trial will be highly valuable for policymakers, program managers, and healthcare providers working in Ethiopia and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261758
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Tuberculosis
  • Ethiopia
  • Drug therapy
  • Health care facilities
  • Health care provider (HCP)
  • Extensively drug resistant
  • Qualitative


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