Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes at a Tuberculosis Unit in Southern India: A Retrospective Observational Study
Dr. Divyarajan Vinitha Kiruffi,
#302, 3rd Floor, KIMS Staff Quarters, 17th Cross Road, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bengaluru-560070, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: The Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic significantly affected both existing and undiagnosed Tuberculosis (TB) patients worldwide. The impact of the pandemic on the treatment outcomes of these patients in India remains unclear.
Aim: To assess the difference in TB treatment outcomes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in an economically disadvantaged urban area in Southern India.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted at a TB Unit in South Bangalore, Southern India, serving a population of 2,50,000 from January 2022 to December 2022. Purposive sampling was employed to select 516 patients who had registered for TB treatment during the years 2019 and 2020. The socio-demographic details and TB profiles of the patients were collected and tabulated. Treatment outcomes were classified according to World Health Organisation (WHO) definitions after a case record analysis. Data were entered into Microsoft Excel 2018 and analysed using Open Epi software. Descriptive statistics, such as mean and standard deviation, were used to report socio-demographic profiles, and the Chi-square test was utilised to evaluate the differences in treatment outcomes. A p-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The study included a total of 516 subjects. There were fewer cases registered in 2020 (n=202), especially after the first quarter, compared to the number registered in 2019 (n=314). The majority of the cases during both years were new instances of microbiologically confirmed pulmonary TB with no co-morbidities. Treatment success rates were 85.35% in 2019 and 88.61% in 2020, which was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: There was a noticeable reduction in the number of cases registered during 2020, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic had a definite effect on TB case notification. However, treatment success rates increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase in the treatment success rate from 85.35% to 88.61% could be attributed to the decrease in the number of registered cases during the pandemic. The study thus found no significant impact on TB treatment success rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.