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Background: In Uganda, 12% of previously treated TB cases and 1.6% of new cases have MDR-TB and require specialized treatment and care. Adherence is crucial for improving MDR-TB treatment outcomes. There is paucity of information on the extent to which these patients adhere to treatment and what the drivers of non-adherence are.
Methods: We conducted a cohort study using retrospectively collected routine program data for patients treated for MDR- TB between January 2012 – May 2016 at Mulago Hospital. We extracted anonymized data on non-adherence (missing 10% or more of DOT), socio-economic, demographic, and treatment characteristics of the patients. All participants were sen- sitive to MDR-TB drugs after second line Drug Susceptible Testing (DST) at entry into the study. Factors associated with non-adherence to MDR-TB treatment were determined using generalized linear models for the binomial family with log link and robust standard errors. We considered a p- value less than 0.05 as statistically significant.
Results: The records of 227 MDR- TB patients met the inclusion criteria, 39.4% of whom were female, 32.6% aged be- tween 25 – 34 years, and 54.6% living with HIV/AIDS. About 11.9% of the patients were non-adherent. The main driver for non-adherence was history of previous DR-TB treatment; previously treated DR-TB patients were 3.46 (Adjusted prev- alence ratio: 3.46, 95 % CI: 1.68 - 7.14) times more likely to be non-adherent.
Conclusion: One in 10 MDR-TB patients treated at Mulago hospital is non-adherent to treatment. History of previous DR- TB treatment was significantly associated with non-adherence in this study. MDR-TB program should strengthen adherence counselling, strengthen DST surveillance, and close monitoring for previously treated DR-TB patients.
Keywords: Non-adherence; multi-drug resistant tuberculosis; treatment.