Is distance associated with tuberculosis treatment outcomes? A retrospective cohort study in Kampala, Uganda

Katherine O. Robsky, Katherine O. Robsky, Seamus Hughes, Alex Kityamuwesi, Emily A. Kendall, Peter James Kitonsa, David W. Dowdy, Achilles Katamba, Achilles Katamba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Challenges accessing nearby health facilities may be a barrier to initiating and completing tuberculosis (TB) treatment. We aimed to evaluate whether distance from residence to health facility chosen for treatment is associated with TB treatment outcomes. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients initiating TB treatment at six health facilities in Kampala from 2014 to 2016. We investigated associations between distance to treating facility and unfavorable TB treatment outcomes (death, loss to follow up, or treatment failure) using multivariable Poisson regression. Results: Unfavorable treatment outcomes occurred in 20% (339/1691) of TB patients. The adjusted relative risk (aRR) for unfavorable treatment outcomes (compared to treatment success) was 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70, 1.07) for patients living ≥2 km from the facility compared to those living closer. When we separately compared each type of unfavorable treatment outcome to favorable outcomes, those living ≥2 km from the facility had increased risk of death (aRR 1.42 [95%CI 0.99, 2.03]) but decreased risk for loss to follow-up (aRR 0.57 [95%CI 0.41, 0.78]) than those living within 2 km. Conclusions: Distance from home residence to TB treatment facility is associated with increased risk of death but decreased risk of loss to follow up. Those who seek care further from home may have advanced disease, but once enrolled may be more likely to remain in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number406
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 11 2020


  • Epidemiology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Health systems research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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