A handbook on how to implement mTB-Tobacco

Publication Year 28 Aug 2023

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Executive Summary

The Be He@lthy, Be Mobile initiative is a global partnership led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), representing the United Nations agencies for health and information agencies for health and information and communications technologies (ICTs). The initiative was established in direct response to the United Nations General Assembly’s call for concerted action towards noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in 2011. The initiative supports the scale up of mobile health (mHealth) technology within national health systems to help combat NCDs. These include diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases. As part of the Be He@lthy, Be Mobile initiative, the mHealth handbooks provide evidence-based and operational guidance to assist countries and governments to implement population-scale mHealth programmes for NCDs.
The central objective of the mHealth for tuberculosis (TB) and tobacco programme, or mTB-Tobacco, is to support TB patients who consume tobacco in quitting tobacco use and guiding them through the journey of recovering from TB. The mTB-Tobacco programme has two distinct areas of intervention. The first tries to instil behaviour change in the patient to quit the habit of tobacco use and the second includes a combination of supportive motivational and informative messages through the period of TB treatment. The overall outcome being that a person is able to both successfully quit tobacco consumption and complete TB treatment.
This document, which is intended for national TB control programmes and organizations responsible for delivering TB control, provides guidance on developing and implementing an mTB-Tobacco programme. The primary focus of the short message service (SMS) content provided here is to inform TB patients who are tobacco users about the hazards of tobacco use and encourage them to quit through text messages for behaviour change. However, the scope of the programme can be expanded to include messages to patients with presumptive TB, TB health-care providers, as well as to deliver content on prevention and compliance to TB patients who do not smoke. These messages are designed to enhance treatment adherence, increase healthy behaviours and reduce potentially harmful behaviours in TB patients in order to improve their health outcomes. The mTB-Tobacco programme will complement routine TB care offered by TB health-care providers, as outlined by the WHO End TB Strategy (1).