Setting: Gauteng, South Africa.
Objective: To determine treatment uptake among newly diagnosed multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patients and risk markers for non-initiation of treatment.
Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted including all newly diagnosed MDR-TB patients in Gauteng Province, South Africa, in 2011. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of those who attended Sizwe Hospital, the designated MDR-TB hospital, were extracted from their medical records. District health offices provided data on patients not seen at Sizwe Hospital. Univariate and multivariate analysis were used to determine risk markers for non-initiation of treatment.
Results: Of the 942 newly diagnosed MDR-TB patients in Gauteng, only 593 (63%) initiated treatment. Of these, 70 (11.8%) did not maintain treatment up to the fourth month. Among the 349 (37%) who did not initiate treatment, 31.2% died and 46.4% could not be accounted for. Referral for laboratory diagnosis from hospitals, health district of the laboratory diagnosis, human immunodeficiency virus infection and place of residence were independently associated with non-initiation of MDR-TB treatment.
Conclusion: Untreated patients continue to transmit MDR-TB in the community. These study findings highlight the need to identify and target the causes of non-initiation of treatment in specific settings.