A seminar on the attitudes, knowledge and beliefs of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients towards smoking was presented by a lecturer in Community Development in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Dr Zifikile Phindile Shangase.

The seminar took place at the King Dinuzulu Hospital in Durban to provide feedback to stakeholders based on collected data from Shangase’s PhD study.

Her thesis was titled: Barrier Identification to Smoking Cessation for Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB) Patients in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Developing an Intervention Model.

In her study, Shangase investigated the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of DR-TB patients with regard to smoking; the prevalence of barriers to smoking cessation among current smokers with DR-TBwhile also addressing the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of hospital staff with regard to smoking.

Addiction-related barriers included smoking history, cravings for a cigarette, smoking as part of a daily routine, and failed quit attempts. Non–addiction-related barriers included lack of knowledge about quit strategies, psychosocial stress, lack of willpower to quit smoking and the influence of peers.

Structural barriers included ineffective health education programmes, lack of extramural activities when in hospital leading to excess spare time, lack of smoking cessation interventions and access to cigarettes within and around the hospital environment. ‘Patients expressed interest in smoking cessation and conveyed their frustration at the lack of appropriate support to do so,’ said Shangase.

Through her study, she also developed a culturally relevant smoking cessation intervention model for DR-TB patients. This model looked at creating supportive environments, building healthy public policies, reorienting health services, developing personal skills and strengthening community action. She is hopeful that by sharing this model with hospital staff, it will enable them to treat and address issues facing DR-TB patients effectively.

‘There is a need for smoking cessation intervention to be incorporated as an integral component of DR-TB management in South Africa,’ said Shangase. ‘Many patients expressed an interest in Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and psychological support to help them to quit smoking. Additionally, offering extramural activities and enforcing smoke-free policies in hospital facilities will help to reduce patients’ access to cigarettes while at the hospital.’

She was a presented with certificates of appreciation from King Dinuzulu Hospital, Don McKenzie Hospital and Charles James Hospital where she conducted her study.

The study is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Unique grant no: 105671).

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph supplied