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Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use among patients with active tuberculosis attending primary care clinics in South Africa: a cluster randomized controlled trial protocol

Karl K Peltzer12*, Pamela P Naidoo34, Gladys G Matseke1 and Khangelani K Zuma1

Author Affiliations

1 HIV, AIDS, TB, and STIs (HAST), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Pretoria, South Africa

2 Department of Psychology, University of Limpopo, Turfloop, South Africa

3 HIV, AIDS, TB, and STIs (HAST), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Cape Town, South Africa

4 Department of Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:394  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-394

Published: 26 May 2011



In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that South Africa had the highest tuberculosis (TB) incidence in the world. This high incidence rate is linked to a number of factors, including HIV co-infection and alcohol use disorders. The diagnosis and treatment package for TB and HIV co-infection is relatively well established in South Africa. However, because alcohol use disorders may present more insidiously, making it difficult to diagnose, those patients with active TB and misusing alcohol are not easily cured from TB. With this in mind, the primary purpose of this cluster randomized controlled trial is to provide screening for alcohol misuse and to test the efficacy of brief interventions in reducing alcohol intake in those patients with active TB found to be misusing alcohol in primary health care clinics in three provinces in South Africa.


Within each of the three selected health districts with the highest TB burden in South Africa, 14 primary health care clinics with the highest TB caseloads will be selected. Those agreeing to participate will be stratified according to TB treatment caseload and the type of facility (clinic or community health centre). Within strata from 14 primary care facilities, 7 will be randomly selected into intervention and 7 to control study clinics (42 clinics, 21 intervention clinics and 21 control clinics). At the clinic level systematic sampling will be used to recruit newly diagnosed TB patients. Those consenting will be screened for alcohol misuse using the AUDIT. Patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse over a 6-month period will be given either a brief intervention based on the Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills (IMB) Model or an alcohol use health education leaflet.

A total sample size of 520 is expected.


The trial will evaluate the impact of alcohol screening and brief interventions for patients with active TB in primary care settings in South Africa. The findings will impact public health and will enable the health ministry to formulate policy related to comprehensive treatment for TB and alcohol misuse, which will result in reduction in alcohol use and ultimately improve the TB cure rates.

Trial registration number

PACTR: PACTR201105000297151