Commenced in January 2007
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lost to follow up Related Abstracts

2 Predictors of Lost to Follow-Up among HIV Patients Attending Anti-Retroviral Therapy Treatment Centers in Nigeria

Authors: Oluwasina Folajinmi, Kate Ssamulla, Penninah Lutung, Daniel Reijer


Background: Despite of well-verified benefits of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in prolonging life expectancy being lost to follow-up (LTFU) presents a challenge to the success of ART programs in resource limited countries like Nigeria. In several studies of ART programs in developing countries, researchers have reported that there has been a high rate of LTFU among patients receiving care and treatment at ART treatment centers. This study seeks to determine the cause of LTFU among HIV clients. Method: A descriptive cross sectional study focused on a population of 9,280 persons living with HIV/AIDS who were enrolled in nine treatment centers in Nigeria (both pre-ART and ART patients were included). Out of the total population, 1752 (18.9%) were found to be LTFU. Of this group we randomly selected 1200 clients (68.5%) their d patients’ information was generated through a database. Data on demographics and CD4 counts, causes of LTFU were analyzed and summarized. Results: Out of 1200 LTFU clients selected, 462 (38.5%) were on ART; 341 clients (73.8%) had CD4 level < 500cell/µL and 738 (61.5%) on pre-ART had CD4 level >500/µL. In our records we found telephone number for 675 (56.1%) of these clients. 675 (56.1%) were owners of a phone. The majority of the client’s 731 (60.9%) were living at not more than 25km away from the ART center. A majority were females (926 or 77.2%) while 274 (22.8%) were male. 675 (56.1%) clients were reported traced via telephone and home address. 326 (27.2%) of clients phone numbers were not reachable; 173 (14.4%) of telephone numbers were incomplete. 71 (5.9%) had relocated due to communal crises and expert client trackers reported that some patient could not afford transportation to ART centers. Conclusion: This study shows that, low health education levels, poverty, relocations and lack of reliable phone contact were major predictors of LTFU. Periodic updates of home addresses, telephone contacts including at least two next of kin, phone text messages and home visits may improve follow up. Early and consistent tracking of missed appointments is crucial. Creation of more ART decentralized centres are needed to avoid long distances.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, predictors, anti-retroviral therapy, lost to follow up

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1 Retrospective Demographic Analysis of Patients Lost to Follow-Up from Antiretroviral Therapy in Mulanje Mission Hospital, Malawi

Authors: Joseph Hartland, Silas Webb


Background: Long-term retention of patients on ART has become a major health challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In 2010 a systematic review of 39 papers found that 30% of patients were no longer taking their ARTs two years after starting treatment. In the same review, it was noted that there was a paucity of data as to why patients become lost to follow-up (LTFU) in SSA. This project was performed in Mulanje Mission Hospital in Malawi as part of Swindon Academy’s Global Health eSSC. The HIV prevalence for Malawi is 10.3%, one of the highest rates in the world, however prevalence soars to 18% in the Mulanje. Therefore it is essential that patients at risk of being LTFU are identified early and managed appropriately to help them continue to participate in the service. Methodology: All patients on adult antiretroviral formulations at MMH, who were classified as ‘defaulters’ (patients missing a scheduled follow up visit by more than two months) over the last 12 months were included in the study. Demographic varibales were collected from Mastercards for data analysis. A comparison group of patients currently not lost to follow up was created by using all of the patients who attended the HIV clinic between 18th-22nd July 2016 who had never defaulted from ART. Data was analysed using the chi squared (χ²) test, as data collected was categorical, with alpha levels set at 0.05. Results: Overall, 136 patients had defaulted from ART over the past 12 months at MMH. Of these, 43 patients had missing Mastercards, so 93 defaulter datasets were analysed. In the comparison group 93 datasets were also analysed and statistical analysis done using Chi-Squared testing. A higher proportion of men in the defaulting group was noted (χ²=0.034) and defaulters tended to be younger (χ²=0.052). 94.6% of patients who defaulted were taking Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Efavirenz, the standard first line ART therapy in Malawi. The mean length of time on ART was 39.0 months (RR: -22.4-100.4) in the defaulters group and 47.3 months (RR: -19.71-114.23) in the control group, with a mean difference of 8.3 less months in the defaulters group (χ ²=0.056). Discussion: The findings in this study echo the literature, however this review expands on that and shows the demographic for the patient at most risk of defaulting and being LTFU would be: a young male who has missed more than 4 doses of ART and is within his first year of treatment. For the hospital, this data is important at it identifies significant areas for public health focus. For instance, fear of disclosure and stigma may be disproportionately affecting younger men, so interventions can be aimed specifically at them to improve their health outcomes. The mean length of time on medication was 8.3 months less in the defaulters group, with a p-value of 0.056, emphasising the need for more intensive follow-up in the early stages of treatment, when patients are at the highest risk of defaulting.

Keywords: HIV, Art, Malawi, anti-retroviral therapy, lost to follow up

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