The World Health Organization (WHO) declared tuberculosis (TB) a global public health emergency in 1993 and since then has intensified its efforts to control the disease worldwide (1). Despite these efforts, there were an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB worldwide during 2000 (2). The rapidly increasing rates of HIV infection, combined with escalating poverty and the collapse of public health services in many settings have contributed to this serious situation (3).
The therapeutic regimens recommended by WHO have been shown to be highly effective for both preventing and treating TB (4), but poor adherence to anti-tuberculosis medication is a major barrier to its global control (2,5,6).Tuberculosis is a communicable disease, thus poor adherence to a prescribed treatment increases the risks of morbidity, mortality and drug resistance at both the individual and community levels.
The purpose of this chapter is to describe the current insights into patients' treatment behaviour and the methods adopted by health providers to enhance adherence to anti-tuberculosis treatment. This has been done with the aim of contributing to the generation of knowledge leading to the production of guidelines for enhancing adherence to prescribed medication in patients receiving long-term care.