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Service providers' adherence to methadone maintenance treatment protocol in China.


BACKGROUND:Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs have expanded rapidly in China during the last decade. However, variance in service providers' practice may have an impact on the quality of care received by the patients. This study examined Chinese service providers' adherence to the MMT protocol and its associated factors. METHODS:The study used baseline data from a randomized intervention trial implemented in MMT clinics in five provinces of China. The data were collected from January 2012 to August 2013. A total of 418 service providers from 68 MMT clinics participated in the study. Demographic and job-related characteristics were collected. The providers' adherence to the MMT protocol, MMT knowledge, negative attitudes towards people who use drugs (PWUD), and perceived institutional support were assessed. RESULTS:The average adherence score was 36.7 ± 4.3 (out of 9-45). Fewer providers adhered to the protocol items where communications with patients or families were required. After controlling for potential confounders, adherence to the MMT protocol was positively associated with perceived institutional support (standardized β = 0.130; p = 0.0052), and negatively associated with prejudicial attitudes towards PWUD (standardized β = -0.357; p < 0.0001). Reception of national-level MMT training was not associated with higher level of adherence to protocol. CONCLUSION:The findings suggest the potential benefits of providing institutional support to MMT providers to enhance their level of adherence to the MMT protocol. Intervention effort is needed to reduce negative attitudes towards PWUD among MMT service providers to achieve greater consistency with best-practice recommendations.

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