High rate of successful treatment outcomes among childhood rifampicin/multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Pakistan: a multicentre retrospective observational analysis

Farah Naz, Nafees Ahmad, Abdul Wahid, Izaz Ahmad, Asad Khan, Muhammad Abubakar, Shabir Ahmed Khan, Amjad Khan, Abdullah Latif, Abdul Ghafoor

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Background: There was a complete lack of information about the treatment outcomes of rifampicin/multidrug resistant (RR/MDR) childhood TB patients (age ≤ 14 years) from Pakistan, an MDR-TB 5th high burden country. Therefore, this study evaluated the socio-demographic characteristics, drug resistance pattern, treatment outcomes and factors associated with unsuccessful outcomes among childhood RR/MDR-TB patients in Pakistan. Methods: This was a multicentre retrospective record review of all microbiologically confirmed childhood RR/MDR-TB patients (age ≤ 14 years) enrolled for treatment at seven units of programmatic management of drug-resistant TB (PMDT) in Pakistan. The baseline and follow-up information of enrolled participants from treatment initiation until the end of treatment were retrieved from electronic nominal recording and reporting system. World Health Organization (WHO) defined criterion was used for deciding treatment outcomes. The outcomes of “cured” and “treatment completed” were collectively grouped as successful, whereas “death”, “treatment failure” and “lost to follow-up” were grouped together as unsuccessful outcomes. Multivariable binary logistic regression analysis was used to find factors associated with unsuccessful outcomes. A p-value < 0.05 reflected statistically significant findings. Results: A total of 213 children RR/MDR-TB (84 RR and 129 MDR-TB) were included in the study. Majority of them were females (74%), belonged to the age group 10–14 years (82.2%) and suffered from pulmonary TB (85.9%). A notable proportion (37.1%) of patients had no history of previous TB treatment. Patients were resistant to a median of two drugs (interquartile range: 1–4) and 23% were resistant to any second line anti-TB drug. A total of 174 (81.7%) patients achieved successful treatment outcomes with 144 (67.6%) patients being cured and 30 (14.1%) declared treatment completed. Among the 39 (18.3%) patients with unsuccessful outcomes, 35 (16.4%) died and 4 (1.9%) experienced treatment failure. In multivariable analysis, the use of ethambutol had statistically significant negative association with unsuccessful outcomes (odds ratio = 0.36, p-value = 0.02). Conclusions: In this study, the WHO target of successful treatment outcomes (≥ 75%) among childhood RR/MDR-TB patients was achieved. The notable proportion of patients with no history of previous TB treatment (37.1%) and the disproportionately high number of female patients (74%) respectively stress for infection control measures and provision of early and high quality care for female drug susceptible TB patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1209
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood
  • Ethambutol
  • Females
  • MDR-TB
  • Rifampicin resistant-TB


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