Early Outcomes Of Decentralized Care for Rifampicin-Resistant Tuberculosis in Johannesburg, South Africa: An Observational Cohort Study

Rebecca Berhanu, Kathryn Schnippel, Erika Mohr, Kamban Hirasen, Denise Evans, Sydney Rosen, Ian Sanne

Objective: We describe baseline characteristics, time to treatment initiation and interim patient outcomes at a decentralized, outpatient treatment site for rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB).

Methods: Prospective observational cohort study of RR-TB patients from March 2013 until December 2014. Study subjects were followed until completion of the intensive phase of treatment (6 months), transfer out, or a final outcome (loss from treatment (LFT) or death).

Results: 214 patients with RR-TB were enrolled in the study. Xpert MTB/RIF was the diagnostic test of rifampicin resistance for 87% (n = 186), followed by direct PCR on AFB positive specimen in 14 (7%) and indirect PCR on cultured isolate in 5 (2%). Median time between sputum testing and treatment initiation was 10 days (IQR 6–21). Interim outcomes were available in 148 patients of whom 78% (n = 115) were still on treatment, 9% (n = 13) had died, and 14% (n = 20) were LFT. Amongst 131 patients with culture positive pulmonary TB, 85 (64.9%) were culture negative at 6 months, 12 were still sputum culture positive (9.2%) and 34 had no culture documented or contaminated culture (26%). Patients who initiated as outpatients within 1 week of sputum collection for diagnosis of RR-TB had a significantly lower incidence of LFT (IRR 0.30, 95% CI: 0.09–0.98). HIV co-infection occurred in 178 patients (83%) with a median CD4 count 88 cells/ml3 (IQR 27–218).

Conclusions: Access to decentralized treatment coupled with the rapid diagnosis of RR-TB has resulted in short time to treatment initiation. Despite the lack of treatment delays, early treatment outcomes remain poor with high rates of death and loss from care.

February 21, 2019
Year of publication
Resource types
Journal and research articles
HE2RO, treatment initiation, patient outcomes, decentralizated care, rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB), decentralization of care and treatment, diagnosis, drug resistance, tuberculosis, TB, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), TB treatment

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