Background: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading infectious cause of death globally. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) including Lesotho, treatment outcome is lower than the recommended rate and poor TB treatment outcomes remain a programmatic challenge. The aim of this study was to determine unfavourable treatment outcomes and associated risk factors among TB patients in Butha Buthe district. Methods: This was a retrospective record review of TB patients registered between January 2015 and December 2020. Data were collected from TB registers and patients’ files and entered Microsoft Excel 2012. Analysis was conducted using R and INLA statistical software. Descriptive statistics were presented as frequencies and percentages. The differences between groups were compared using Pearson's X2 test in bivariate analysis. Frailty Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the risk of unfavourable outcomes among the variables. Results: A total of 1792 TB patients were enrolled in the study with about 70% males (1,257). Majority (71.7%) of the patients were between 20 and 59 years old, with 48% of the patients being unemployed. Almost a quarter of the patients (23.1%) had unfavourable outcomes with death (342 patients) being the most common unfavourable outcome. Our study has shown that patients older than 59 years, and unemployment increased the risk of having unfavourable treatment outcomes. Death was the most common unfavourable outcome followed by lost-to-follow up. We also observed that the patients in the initiation phase of treatment died at a faster rate compared to those in the continuation phase (p=0.02). Conclusion: TB treatment programs should have efficient follow-up methods geared more toward elderly patients. Active case finding to identify population at risk should be part of a TB program which would improve early diagnosis and treatment initiation. Patients in the intensive phase of the treatment program should be monitored more closely to determine adverse drug effects and nutritional requirement to prevent death during this phase of treatment.
- Unfavourable outcomes