Published on December 2021 | Pulmonary tuberculosis, india, Tribal community
Background Loss to follow-up (LTFU) among pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients is a significant challenge for TB control. However, there is a dearth of information about the factors leading to LTFU among marginalized communities. This study highlights the factors associated with LTFU in Saharia, a tribe of Madhya Pradesh having high tuberculosis (TB) prevalence. Methods A qualitative study was carried out during January-April 2020 among twenty-two pulmonary TB patients, recorded as LTFU in NIKSHAY, with ten treatment supporters and ten patient’s family members. Semi-structured personal interview tools were used to collect the information on the history of anti-tuberculosis treatment, adverse drug events (ADE), social cognitive, behaviors, myths, and misbeliefs. The interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed to examine underlying themes. Results The study explored various social, behavioral factors leading to loss to follow-up among PTB patients. Drug side effects, alcoholism, social stigma, lack of awareness of the seriousness of the diseases and poor counseling are the main barriers to treatment adherence in this community. Conclusions The study highlights the need to address the issues related to LTFU during TB treatment. The enhanced efforts of treatment supporters, health staff, and family & community persons must motivate and support the patients.