Is a differentiated care model needed for patients with TB? A cohort analysis of risk factors contributing to unfavourable outcomes among TB patients in two states in South India

Authors : Washington R, Potty RS, Rajesham A, Seenappa T, Singarajipura A, Swamickan R, Shah A, Prakash KH, Kar A, Kumaraswamy K, Prarthana BS, Maryala BK, Sushma J, Dasari R, Shetty B, Panibatla V, Mohan HL, Becker M

Publication Year : 2020

Abstract :

TB is a preventable and treatable disease. Yet, successful treatment outcomes at desired levels are elusive in many national TB programs, including India. We aim to identify risk factors for unfavourable outcomes to TB treatment, in order to subsequently design a care model that would improve treatment outcomes among these at-risk patients.

We conducted a cohort analysis among TB patients who had been recently initiated on treatment. The study was part of the internal program evaluation of a USAID-THALI project, implemented in select towns/cities of Karnataka and Telangana, south India. Community Health Workers (CHWs) under the project, used a pre-designed tool to assess TB patients for potential risks of an unfavourable outcome. CHWs followed up this cohort of patients until treatment outcomes were declared. We extracted treatment outcomes from patient's follow-up data and from the Nikshay portal. The specific cohort of patients included in our study were those whose risk was assessed during July and September, 2018, subsequent to conceptualisation, tool finalisation and CHW training. We used bivariate and multivariate logistic regression to assess each of the individual and combined risks against unfavourable outcomes; death alone, or death, lost to follow up and treatment failure, combined as 'unfavourable outcome'.

A significantly higher likelihood of death and experiencing unfavourable outcome was observed for individuals having more than one risk (AOR: 4.19; 95% CI: 2.47-7.11 for death; AOR 2.21; 95% CI: 1.56-3.12 for unfavourable outcome) or only one risk (AOR: 3.28; 95% CI: 2.11-5.10 for death; AOR 1.71; 95% CI: 1.29-2.26 for unfavourable outcome) as compared to TB patients with no identified risk. Male, a lower education status, an initial weight below the national median weight, co-existing HIV, previous history of treatment, drug-resistant TB, and regular alcohol use had significantly higher odds of death and unfavourable outcome, while age > 60 was only associated with higher odds of death.

A rapid risk assessment at treatment initiation can identify factors that are associated with unfavourable outcomes. TB programs could intensify care and support to these patients, in order to optimise treatment outcomes among TB patients.