BACKGROUND: Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are not widely used for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB). We describe the implementation aspects of a new integrated model of care in Armenia and the perceptions of the healthcare staff and patients.
METHODS: We used qualitative methods, including a desktop review and semi-structured individual interviews with healthcare staff and with patients receiving HCV and MDR/RR-TB treatment.
RESULTS: The new integrated model resulted in simplified management of HCV and MDR/RR-TB at public TB facilities. Training on HCV was provided for TB clinic staff. All MDR/RR-TB patients were systematically offered HCV testing and those diagnosed with HCV, offered treatment with DAAs. Treatment monitoring was performed by TB staff in coordination with a hepatologist. The staff interviewed had a positive opinion of the new model. They suggested that additional training should be provided. Most patients were fully satisfied with the care received. Some were concerned about the increased pill burden.
CONCLUSION: Integrating HCV treatment into MDR/ RR-TB care was feasible and appreciated by patients and staff. This new model facilitated HCV diagnosis and treatment among people with MDR/RR-TB. Our results encourage piloting this model in other settings.
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