Exploring poor drug adherence among adults on HIV/AIDS treatment: a case study of the Mpilo Opportunistic Infection Clinic in Bulawayo

Author: Ncube, Sibusiso

This study set out to explore the reasons of poor drug adherence among patients on antiretroviral drugs in Mpilo Opportunistic Infection clinic. This qualitative research targeted adults aged 18-54. Data was collected using questionnaires from poor drug adhering clients, adhering clients and key informants. The questionnaires were self-administered. The study used convenience sampling, where respondents were picked as they were coming to support groups. Grounded theory was employed in data analysis. This method consisted of preparing and organizing data for analysis, which was reduced into themes through a process of coding and condensing the codes and finally representing the data into discussion. The main findings of the study were classified under personal, institutional and governmental factors. The main problems affecting adherence in patients were cited as severe side effects of the medication, stigma, and discrimination, forgetting because of getting busy at work, being away from home, treatment failure and shortage of food. The suggestions imposed by the patients on ART for combating poor drug adherence were changing of the current drug regimen, funding the support groups in order to capacitate them to make follow ups for lost clients and changing of the health provider’s attitude towards patients. The suggestions for health providers were, change of patients ’attitude towards medication, assistance from the government as Mpilo OI clinic is a government institution and additional staff at the opportunistic clinic. The current policy for the institution is “following up los to follow clients at their homes”, however, the policy is there on paper but not in practice. Conclusively, the reasons for poor drug adherence in patients at Mpilo Opportunistic Infection Clinic are personal, institutional and governmental; these problems need a multispectral approach in combating them.