• 1 Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • 2 Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • 3 Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia


There is a large volume of published studies describing the adverse relationship between treatment non-adherence
with tuberculosis treatment outcome. Non-adherence could result in increased risks of prolonged infectiousness, drug
resistance, relapse cases and poor survival among tuberculosis patients. Nevertheless, few studies are to be found providing
detailed on the reason of defaulting treatment among tuberculosis patients in Malaysia. Hence the goal of this paper is
to find out the barriers and motivations factors that affect patients’ treatment compliance among our local tuberculosis
patients. This is a qualitative study which included 12 in-depth interviews with tuberculosis non-compliance patients
who were treated at Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Kuala Lumpur. All the conversations were recorded, transcribed
and analysed by using thematic analysis. It was found that low knowledge, self-negative attitudes, traditional believes,
negative perceptions towards health caregiver, drug side effects, stigma, financial problems, less family support and
work commitments are the barriers that prevent the patients from religiously taking their anti-tuberculosis treatment.
Meanwhile, factors that encourage them to continue their treatment were the believes of bad effects of the disease onto
their lives and health, good relationship between patient and health caregiver and social support from people around
them. In conclusion, non-adherence involved a dynamic influence of individual, socio-economic and treatment-related
factors on the patients. The results presented here may facilitate improvement in the activities in promoting compliance
among tuberculosis patients in the future which tailored to the patients’ specific needs.