OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a new tool for the monitoring of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) treatment outcomes in primary healthcare (PHC) settings, adapted from the standardised Retrospective Quarterly Cohort Monitoring done in tuberculosis control.
METHODS: We developed standard case definitions for early and late VL treatment outcomes, a single register allowing for one-line entry per patient as registration tool, and quarterly reporting formats for the clinical outcomes. We pilot-tested these tools in three Indian Primary Health Centres and two Nepalese district hospitals, as well as in a charity VL treatment centre and a university hospital.
RESULTS: Data collection for early treatment outcome was easily implemented but information on late treatment outcome was hard to obtain. Effectiveness of Miltefosine under routine care conditions was about 87% at end of treatment, and 76% at 6 months post-treatment related to the high number of patients lost to follow up at the latter end point.
CONCLUSION: A retrospective cohort monitoring methodology is conceptually a good framework for monitoring clinical outcomes for chronic conditions as VL. The monitoring of early outcomes of VL treatment is perfectly feasible in Primary Care settings. The completeness of information on late outcomes can be improved by a number of strategies that remain to be field tested. Generally, clinical outcome monitoring should be strengthened in the VL control programmes.