Community-based MDR-TB care project improves treatment initiation in patients diagnosed with MDR-TB in Myanmar
Community-based MDR-TB care project improves treatment initiation in patients diagnosed with MDR-TB in Myanmar
Pyae Phyo Wai 1 2
Hemant Deepak Shewade 0 1
Nang Thu Thu Kyaw 1 2
Saw Thein 1
Aung Si Thu 1 2
Khine Wut Yee Kyaw 1 2
Nyein Nyein Aye 1 2
Aye Mon Phyo 1 2
Htet Myet Win Maung 1 3
Kyaw Thu Soe 1
Si Thu Aung 1 3
0 International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) , South-East Asia Office, New Delhi , India , 3 National Tuberculosis Programme, Ministry of Health and Sports , Mandalay , Myanmar
1 Editor: Esaki M. Shankar, Central University of Tamil Nadu , INDIA
2 International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) , Mandalay , Myanmar
3 National Tuberculosis Programme, Ministry of Health and Sports, Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar, 5 Department of Medical Research (Pyin Oo Lwin Branch), Ministry of Health and Sports , Pyin Oo Lwin , Myanmar
OPEN ACCESS To assess whether CBMDR-TBC project's support improved treatment initiation. In this cohort study (involving record review) of all diagnosed MDR-TB between January 2015 and June 2016 in project townships, CBMDR-TBC status was categorized as ªreceiving supportº if date of project initiation in patient's township was before the date of diagnosis and ªnot receiving supportº, if otherwise. Cox proportional hazards regression (censored on 31 Dec 2016) was done to identify predictors of treatment initiation. Of 456 patients, 57% initiated treatment: 64% and 56% among patients ªreceiving support (n = 208)º and ªnot receiving support (n = 228)º respectively (CBMDR-TBC status was not known in 20 (4%) patients due to missing diagnosis dates). Among those initiated on treatment (n = 261), median (IQR) time to initiate treatment was 38 (20, 76) days: 31 (18, 50) among patients ªreceiving supportº and 50 (26,101) among patients ªnot receiving supportº. After adjusting
The Union in collaboration with national TB programme (NTP) started the community-based
MDR-TB care (CBMDR-TBC) project in 33 townships of upper Myanmar to improve
treatment initiation and treatment adherence. Patients with MDR-TB diagnosed/registered under
NTP received support through the project staff, in addition to the routine domiciliary care
provided by NTP staff. Each township had a project nurse exclusively for MDR-TB and 30 USD
per month (max. for 4 months) were provided to the patient as a pre-treatment support.
Funding: This operational research was conducted
using available resources and manpower within the
programme and no additional funding was required
for this study. The training programme within
which this paper was developed was funded by the
Department for International Development (DFID),
UK. The funders had no role in study design, data
collection and analysis, decision to publish, or
preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared
that no competing interests exist.
other potential confounders (age, sex, region, HIV, past history of TB treatment), patients
ªreceiving supportº had 80% higher chance of initiating treatment [aHR (0.95 CI): 1.8 (1.3, 2.3)]
when compared to patients ªnot receiving supportº. In addition, age 15±54 years, previous
history of TB and being HIV negative were independent predictors of treatment initiation.
Receiving support under CBMDR-TBC project improved treatment initiation: it not only
improved the proportion initiated but also reduced time to treatment initiation. We also
recommend improved tracking of all diagnosed patients as early as possible.
Multidrug-resistant/Rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB/RR-TB) poses a major threat
to the control of tuberculosis globally with an estimated 580,000 cases in 2015. However, there
are gaps in MDR-TB diagnosis and treatment initiation in many of the high MDR-TB burden
countries . The gap (called as pre-treatment loss to follow-up) and delay in treatment
initiation can lead to pre-treatment mortality and possibly poor MDR-TB treatment outcomes:
fueling the further transmission of MDR-TB.
The pre-treatment loss to follow-up in patients with MDR-TB was about 21% in
Bangladesh, 39% before implementation of Line Probe Assay (LPA) and 12% after implementation of
LPA in India and 55% in South Africa [2±4]. In 2016, a systematic review identified no
published evidence linking delay in treatment initiation to MDR-TB outcomes [
]. Recently, a
study from India has reported delayed treatment initiation (>30 days) as a risk factor for
unfavorable outcomes [
Myanmar is one of the 30 high MDR-TB burden countries in the world [
]. The National
Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) is committed to scale up the case detection of MDR-TB
through implementation of Xpert MTB/Rif starting from 2011. The treatment and care of
MDR-TB is domiciliary and provided according to World Health Organization (WHO)
recommended programmatic management of DR-TB (PMDT) model since 2011[
investigations and treatment initiation are done at MDR-TB treatment centers followed by
domiciliary care (directly observed treatment±DOT) in the community.
In 2014, WHO estimated that there were 9,000 MDR-TB cases in Myanmar and 5,500 cases
were estimated by NTP. In 2015, NTP reported that 2,793 MDR-TB cases were diagnosed and
2,207 were enrolled for treatment in the same year [
]. The gap between notified and treated
MDR-TB cases in Myanmar was reported as 61% and 43% in 2013 and 2014 respectively :
some patients were possibly dying before getting treated.
By 2020, Myanmar targets to enroll all MDR-TB patients on treatment within two weeks of
their diagnosis and provide comprehensive patient support package to enable treatment
success rates of >80% [
]. To achieve this, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and
Lung Disease (The Union) in collaboration with NTP started the community-based MDR-TB
care (CBMDR-TB Care) project in upper Myanmar since 2015 with funding from Global
Fund (GF) and Three Millennium Development Goal Fund (3 MDGF). Patients with
MDR-TB diagnosed/registered under PMDT received support through the project staff, in
addition to the domiciliary care provided by NTP's PMDT staff. Trained community
volunteers and project focal nurses (exclusively for MDR-TB) provided psychosocial and
socio-economic support to patients and family members after MDR-TB diagnosis up to treatment
initiation and completion under the guidance of NTP township TB team.
2 / 15
Phase-wise implementation of project in Upper Myanmar between 2015 and 2016 provided
us a unique opportunity to assess the impact of this project. There is no published literature on
interventions to improve treatment initiation among MDR-TB through a support package
(CBMDR-TBC in our case) in the context of domiciliary care through PMDT. Therefore, as a
first ever study, we aimed to assess whether the Union's CBMDR-TBC project improved
treatment initiation in patients diagnosed with MDR-TB. The effect of CBMDR-TBC project on
unfavourable outcomes and death among registered patients during initial 8 months of
treatment is published elsewhere [
This was a retrospective cohort study involving record review.
General setting. Myanmar is a lower middle income country [
] in south-east Asia
region flanked by India and Bangladesh in north-west; China in north-east; Laos and Thailand
in south-east; Bay of Bengal in south-west and Andaman sea in south. It has a population of 51
million and predominantly mountainous in upper Myanmar, plain and delta region in middle
and lower Myanmar [
]. It is administratively divided into states/regions (n = 15) followed by
districts (n = 67) and townships (n = 330). Under the National Tuberculosis Program, there
are TB centers at central level and systematically decentralized to state /region level, district
level and township level [
Programmatic management of drug-resistant tuberculosis (PMDT) in Myanmar.
Patients with presumptive MDR-TB are referred from the township TB center to the nearest
district TB center with Xpert MTB/Rif diagnostic facility. Each Xpert MTB/Rif facility has a
laboratory register. A line list of presumptive MDR-TB register is maintained at the township level.
All patients diagnosed as RR-TB by Xpert MTB/RIF are assumed as MDR-TB and started
on second line treatment immediately. In select cases (presumed to be having a low-risk of
MDR-TB), an initial positive result is reconfirmed by a repeat Xpert MTB/RIF. If needed, final
confirmation is done with line probe essay (LPA) or culture and drug susceptibility test (DST)
using MGIT (Mycobacteria growth indicator tube) liquid system [
]. The LPA and MGIT
register are kept at upper Myanmar TB center in Mandalay.
After the patient is diagnosed with MDR-TB, the respective township TB team is informed.
The township TB team includes township medical officer, township TB coordinator, basic
health staff (BHS) and laboratory technician. The support package given by the BHS under
PMDT to ensure treatment initiation is shown in Table 1. The BHS is also involved in
implementing activities under other national health and disease control programmes. After the
patient principally agrees to undertake MDR-TB treatment and informs to make clear that he/
3 / 15
she will take DOT for at least 20 months, the patient is referred to the nearest MDR-TB
treatment center (district-level). After pre-treatment evaluation which includes baseline
investigations and measurements, the patient is initiated on treatment. MDR-TB treatment card and
register are maintained at the MDR-TB treatment center and patient has a treatment booklet.
All services are provided free of cost (7).
Community-based MDR-TB care (CBMDR-TBC) project. In order to increase
treatment initiation and treatment adherence, CBMDR-TBC project supports PMDT in 33
townships (selected after consultation with NTP), across four states/regions in upper Myanmar
since January 2015 (Fig 1). The project was implemented phase wise across these 33 townships
between January 2015 and June 2016. Once the project implementation began in a particular
township, all old diagnosed/treated patients and newly diagnosed cases were provided support.
The support is provided from diagnosis to treatment initiation, up to treatment completion.
Each project township has a project focal nurse under supervision of the township TB team
from NTP. In addition to implementation of the care package under PMDT (Table 1), the
project focal nurse also identifies and trains a volunteer who stays close to the patient in the
community. The complementary support provided from diagnosis to treatment initiation
under CBMDR-TBC is summarized in Table 2.
During 2015±16, of 49 Xpert MTB/Rif machines in the country, 12 were in 33
CBMDRTBC townships. Of the 73 MDR-TB treatment centers in Myanmar, 15 were in 33
CBMDRTBC project townships.
Routine monitoring includes submission of monthly reports by volunteers to project focal
nurse and then by the project focal nurses to project manager (one manager is assigned for
every eleven townships) which are then forwarded to the monitoring and evaluation unit of
The Union Office and the township TB team under NTP.
All patients diagnosed with MDR-TB between January 2015 and June 2016 in 33
CBMDRTBC project townships of upper Myanmar were included. Date of diagnosis was the entry date
into the cohort, while date of treatment initiation or date of censoring (31 Dec 2016),
whichever was earlier, was the end-date in the cohort.
CBMDR-TBC exposure ascertainment
To study the effect of CBMDR-TBC project on treatment initiation, we categorized the
patients into two groups: `receiving support', and `not receiving support' using the date of
diagnosis and date of project initiation in patient's township. `Receiving support' included patients
who received support from CBMDR-TBC project from the date of MDR-TB diagnosis (date of
project initiation in patient's township was on or before date of diagnosis). Other patients
were classified as `not receiving support'.
Data variables, sources of data and data collection
Between January and March 2017, records of all Xpert MTB/Rif, LPA and MGIT tested
positive patients were extracted from the 12 Xpert MTB/Rif facility laboratory registers and upper
Myanmar TB center Laboratory unit located in Mandalay. After removal of duplicates each
study participant was given a unique identifier which was a combination of Xpert MTB/Rif
facility code, Xpert MTB/Rif laboratory number and year. Date of diagnosis was defined as the
date of Xpert MTB/Rif, LPA or MGIT test results. Earlier date was used in case of more than
one test results.
4 / 15
Fig 1. Map of Myanmar showing 33 CBMDR-TBC project supported townships across four states/regions of
upper Myanmar, 2015±16. CBMDR-TBC project±community-based multi-drug resistant tuberculosis care project.
5 / 15
1 Exclusive project focal nurse at each project township has to support following
Initial home visit and pretreatment counselling
Psychosocial counselling to patient and family members by the project focal nurse
Coordinate to undergo base-line investigations at MDR-TB treatment center
Recruited and trained volunteer for evening DOT once patient starts treatment
Community mobilization by providing health education to the patient and their family members and neighbours
2 Pre-treatment support: 30 USD per month for a maximum of four months for patients with intent to reduce, to
some extent, their expenses in lodging, some ancillary drugs
MDR-TB±multi drug resistant tuberculosis, DOT±directly observed treatment; USD±United States Dollars
Variables collected from laboratory register were age, sex, region, previous treatment
history of TB and HIV status. Distance between patient's resident Township and MDR-TB
treatment center was calculated using google maps (www.googlemaps.com). Date of project
initiation in patient's township was collected from CBMDR-TBC project records.
Treatment initiation was confirmed by matching the name, age and resident township (if
unique identifier details were not available) in the MDR-TB treatment register. Variables
collected were treatment initiation (yes/no) and date of treatment initiation.
Analysis and statistics
Data collected in structured data collection forms were single entered into EpiData (Version
3.1, EpiData Association, Odense, Denmark) at each MDR-TB treatment center by research
assistants between March and April 2017. Descriptive analysis (frequency, proportion, means
(SD), median (IQR)) and generation of derived variables was done using EpiData analysis
(version 220.127.116.11, EpiData Association, Odense, Denmark). STATA (version 12.1, copyright
1985±2011 StataCorp LP USA, serial number: 30120504773) was used for time to event
(treatment initiation) analysis and multivariable predictive modelling.
`Receiving support' was the exposure of interest. Treatment initiation was the outcome of
interest which was summarized as proportions and incidence rate (number of events per 1000
person-days of follow-up).
Unadjusted analysis was done to determine the association (Hazard ratio, HR) between
ªreceiving supportº, other potential confounders and treatment initiation. Cumulative
proportion (1- Kaplan-Meier) of treatment initiation was described over time: overall and by
CBMDR-TBC status. For independent predictors of treatment initiation, age, sex,
CBMDRTBC status and variables with p-value of <0.2 in the unadjusted analysis were included (after
ruling out multi-collinearity) in the Cox regression model (enter method). We assessed for
proportional hazard assumption of the model by using Schoenfeld residuals and plotting the
estimated survival curves using Cox model and Kaplan-Meier estimates. We modelled
timevarying covariates (using tvc function in STATA) in case the proportional hazard assumption
was not met [
]. Unadjusted and adjusted HRs were reported with 95% confidence intervals
Ethics and consent
Ethics approval was received from Myanmar Ethics Review Committee, Department of
Medical Research, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar (ERC No. 014216, dated 30th January
2017) and the Ethics Advisory Group of International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung
6 / 15
Disease (The Union), Paris, France (EAG No. 81/16, dated 1st November 2016.) Permission to
conduct the study was granted from National Tuberculosis Programme, Ministry of Health
and Sports, Myanmar. As the study involved analysis of secondary data from programme
records, waiver for informed consent was sought and approved by the ethics committees.
There were 456 patients diagnosed with MDR-TB, 208 (46%) were ªreceiving supportº and
228 (50%) were ªnot receiving supportº from CBMDR-TBC project. CBMDR-TBC status in
20 (4%) patients was not known because of missing diagnosis dates. The mean (SD) age of
patients was 40 (15) and 305 (67%) were male. More than half of them were from Mandalay
region (n = 277). Seventy nine percent (n = 359) had previous history of TB and 29% (130) of
them were residing in townships >100 kilometer away from the MDR-TB treatment center.
There were 96047 person-days of follow: it was 64766 and 31281 among ªnot receiving
supportº and ªreceiving supportº group respectively.
Overall, 57% (261/456) patients initiated treatment. Among those initiated on treatment
(n = 261), only 14% (36/261) and 38% (99/261) initiated treatment within 14 and 30 days
respectively. Thirty five patients initiated treatment after 100 days of diagnosis and twelve
initiated treatment after 200 days.
The number (% (0.95 CI)) of patients initiated on treatment among those ªnot receiving
support (n = 228)º and ªreceiving support (n = 208)º was 127 [56(49, 62)] and 132 [64 (57,
70)] respectively (Fig 2). The cumulative proportion initiated on treatment with time is
summarized in Fig 3. Median (IQR) time to initiate treatment was 38 (20, 76) days: 31 (18, 50)
among patients ªreceiving supportº and 50 (26, 101) among patients ªnot receiving supportº.
Overall, incidence rate (0.95 CI) of treatment initiation was 2.6 (2.3, 3.0) per 1000 person-days
of follow-up: 4.2 (3.5, 5.0) among patients ªreceiving supportº and 1.9 (1.6, 2.2) among patients
ªnot receiving supportº.
Effect of CBMDR-TBC project on treatment initiation
Age, sex, region, previous history of TB, HIV status and CBMDR-TBC status were included in
the cox regression model. Distance was not included as its unadjusted p value was >0.2. As
CBMDR-TBC status was not fulfilling the proportional hazards assumption, we modelled for
time varying association before and after 120 days of follow-up because the observed and
predicted survival probabilities were crossing over at 120 days (S1 Fig) [
]. For CBMDR-TBC,
adjusted HR at follow-up between 0 and 120 days and adjusted HR at follow-up after 120 days
(interaction between CBMDR-TBC and time>120) is also presented (Table 4).
After adjusting potential confounders, during follow-up between 0 and 120 days, patients
ªreceiving supportº had 80% higher chance of initiating treatment [aHR (0.95 CI): 1.8 (1.3,
2.3)] when compared to patients ªnot receiving supportº. This effect seemed to reverse (60%
lower chance) after 120 days [aHR (0.95 CI): 0.4 (0.2, 0.9)]. In addition, patients aged between
15 and 54 years (compared to age group >55 years), patients who had previous history of TB
(when compared to no history) and patients with HIV negative or unknown (when compared
to HIV positive) were independent predictors of treatment initiation throughout the follow-up
period (Table 4).
7 / 15
Summary of key findings
This is the first study done worldwide to study the effect of a support package at the
community level (CBMDR-TBC in our case) on time to treatment initiation among patients
diagnosed with MDR-TB in the context of domiciliary care through PMDT. Three out of five
patients diagnosed with MDR-TB got initiated on treatment while other underwent
pre-treatment loss to follow-up. The time to initiate treatment was long. Within four months of
diagnosing MDR-TB, the CBMDR-TBC project's support increased treatment initiation and
shortened the time to treatment initiation, hence, reducing disease transmission.
8 / 15
Fig 2. Flow chart showing treatment initiation cascade stratified by CBMDR-TBC status among diagnosed
MDR-TB patients in 33 CBMDR-TBC project supported townships of upper Myanmar, January 2015-June 2016.
MDR-TB: Multi drug resistant tuberculosis. aPatient considered receiving support if date of project initiation in
patient's township was before the date of MDR-TB diagnosis, date of MDR-TB diagnosis is missing for 20 patients and
therefore could not be classified. bwhether patients were under CBMDR-TBC project or not cannot be ascertained as
date of diagnosis was missing. cfollow-up period from diagnosis ranged from 6 months to 2 years.
Strengths and limitations
There are several strengths of this study. We covered 10% (33 townships out of 330 townships)
of total townships in Myanmar. Hence, we included sufficiently large number of patients with
MDR-TB in the study. Second, reversal of hazards (after 120 days in our case) is a known
epidemiological phenomenon where cohorts are followed up for a long periods of time [
therefore modelled for time varying effect of CBMDR-TBC status in our time to event analysis.
In the absence of this modeling, we ran the risk of getting a null effect estimate. Third, the study
involved use of routine programmatic data; therefore, our findings reflect the ground reality.
However, there are some limitations in this study. First, diagnosis dates were missing for
some of the patients and exposure ascertainment could not be done in 4% of the patients.
Second, we do not know what happened to the patients who did not start on treatment. Studies
have shown that about 40% of patient who recorded as not initiated treatment at the treatment
centers were identified as out-migration to other area or cannot be traced due to wrong
address and about 10% as death [
]. Therefore, the diagnosed patients who did not start
treatment from our study could also have either died or taken treatment in DR-TB centers
outside the 33 project townships. Third, information on other patient level data (extent of
exposure to CBMDR-TBC in the form of number of nurse /volunteer visits) and programmatic /
health system level factors was not available as this was not collected routinely within the
programme. There might be some measurement errors that are inherent to operational research.
Fourth, the date of project initiation was at the township level. However, we do not think that
this would induce any clustering as all patients (previously diagnosed and newly diagnosed)
were provided services once the project was implemented in a township. Finally, we did not
consider the distance from actual patient residence. Hence, if the township was large, there
might be large margin of error depending where someone lived in that township. However,
this error was not expected to vary differentially among the CBMDR-TBC groups (`receiving
support' and `not receiving support').
9 / 15
Fig 3. Time to treatment initiation among patients diagnosed with MDR-TB (overall and stratified by
CBMDR-TBC status) between January 2015 and June 2016 in 33 CBMDR-TBC project supported townships in
upper Myanmar. MDR-TB-Multidrug resistance tuberculosis, CBMDR-TBC- Community based multidrug
resistance tuberculosis care project.
Interpretation of findings
Overall, the treatment initiation proportion was low: two-fifths were not initiated on treatment.
Considering the analysis was time to event, the follow-up time in our cohort was between six
months and two years. The treatment initiation may be even lower if we applied constant
follow-up time for each patient (say 6 months). The proportion of patients not initiated on
treatment was lower than the study done in South Africa. However, it was higher than the global
estimates (5%) and findings in Bangladesh and India [1±4]. One of the reasons for this could be
that decentralization of treatment form two main DR-TB centers of Myanmar (Yangon and
Mandalay) to district-level DR-TB centers began in 2013 and was completed in March 2016.
Therefore, MDR-TB patients diagnosed in 2015 and 2016 included in our study may have
experienced difficulties to start treatment especially for patients from townships outside Mandalay.
According to NTP MDR-TB management guidelines (2016), all diagnosed MDR- TB
patients should be put on treatment within 14 days after diagnosis. However, this study
revealed that only a small percentage (14%) of diagnosed patients could start treatment within
14 days. This delay in the presence of Xpert MTB/Rif which takes only two hours to diagnose
RR-TB is unacceptable as introduction of rapid molecular diagnostic tests has worldwide
shown a reduction in time to treatment initiation. [
10 / 15
HR- Hazard Ratio; aHR- Adjusted HR; CI±confidence interval; ref- reference; CBMDR-TBCÐcommunity-based multi-drug resistant tuberculosis care project
aHR calculated using Cox regression (enter methodÐcomplete case analysis): age, sex, CBMDR-TBC status and variables with unadjusted p<0.2 were included in the
Interaction term between time>120 days and CBMDR-TB status, proportional hazards assumption not met, the stcoxph curve showed that around 120 days there
was a cut off for time varying association. We used tvc function in STATA to model time varying associations.
CBMDR-TBC project had a positive effect on improving patients' treatment initiation in
the first four months after diagnosis: it not only improved the proportion initiated on
treatment but also reduced the time to treatment initiation. We did not find any other study
worldwide, which studied the effect of a support package to improve treatment initiation among
patients receiving domiciliary PMDT services. There are studies that have compared
community-based care with facility-based care and documented earlier treatment initiation [
However, this cannot be compared with our study as the comparison in our study was between
domiciliary care under PMDT with and without a support package from CBMDR-TBC
project. A study from India looked at the effect of implementation of recommendations from an
operational research on pre-treatment loss to follow-up and time to initiate treatment.
11 / 15
However, this was a before and after design with no control arm and the number of diagnosed
patients were less than at each given study period [
There are possible reasons within CBMDR-TBC project which could be responsible for the
improvement in treatment initiation. First, we have reasons to believe that the PMDT guidelines to
reduce pre-treatment loss to follow-up would have been more effectively implemented among
patients ªreceiving supportº. The project focal nurse was exclusively assigned to implement PMDT
guidelines and specific components of the CBMDR-TBC project. The project focal nurse also
coordinated with the MDR-TB treatment center for pre-treatment baseline investigations of the patient
(Tables 1 and 2). Patients ªnot receiving supportº from the CBMDR-TBC project received services
only from BHS who delivers not only TB activities but also other health activities.
Second, patients ªreceiving supportº received 30 USD per month (max 4 months) in the
pre-treatment period which is not provided under PMDT. This may reduce the financial
burden on the patient for their visit to DR-TB center for pre-treatment evaluation.
Despite this, there was scope for improvement among those receiving CBMDR-TBC support
as well. Low treatment initiation (64%) in patients ªreceiving supportº from the CBMDR-TBC
project may be due to existing systemic issues which require improvement and were beyond the
scope of CBMDR-TBC project. Other factors affecting treatment initiation are timely result
feedback to patients, negative perceptions of the adverse effects of MDRTB treatment by the
patients, lack of human resources who can provide timely referral and manage those adverse
effects properly, funding limitations and limited infrastructure for MDRTB care and service
]. PMDT along with CBMDR-TBC project needs to focus the high risk groups for
pre-treatment loss to follow-up identified in our study (HIV positive, new patient, old people) [
There are many policy implications of this study. First, the PMDT in Myanmar needs to
urgently take steps to reduce pre-treatment loss to follow-up and time to treatment initiation.
Both PMDT and CBMDR-TBC project may consider updating the township-level
presumptive MDR-TB register from time to time. This will enable tracking each patient once
diagnosed. An indicator of pre-treatment loss to follow-up should be made in the quarterly reports
of PMDT and monthly reports of CBMDR-TBC.
Second, the PMDT and CBMDR-TBC may consider the use of innovative ways to
communicate Xpert MTB/Rif results to the township TB center. This may include short messaging
services, emails or using internet-based mobile applications. Third, the existing pre-treatment
evaluation process needs to be simplified and streamlined.
Fourth, we recommend expansion of the support from CBMDR-TBC to all townships and
it needs to systematically implemented and monitored. Currently, The Union is one of the
non-Government organizations supporting the PMDT in providing this care.
Fifth, there is a need for further research into what happens to patients who do not initiate
treatment. We also recommend qualitative systematic enquiry to study patient and
health-system related risk factors for pre-treatment loss to follow-up and enablers for treatment
initiation among patient receiving support from CBMDR-TBC project.
Receiving support from CBMDR-TB care project improved treatment initiation among
patients diagnosed with MDR-TB within four months of diagnosis in Myanmar. However, the
treatment initiation among patients ªreceiving supportº was still far behind WHO End TB
targets . Improved tracking of patients diagnosed with MDR-TB with special focus on HIV
positive, new TB patient and old people are urgently required.
12 / 15
S1 Fig. Assessment of proportional hazards assumption for treatment initiation by
plotting the estimated survival curves obtained using Cox model and Kaplan-Meier estimates,
stratified by CBMDR-TBC status. Exp1 variables categorized as (Yes) ªreceiving
CBMDR-TBC supportº; (No) ªnot receiving CBMDR-TBC supportº.
CBMDR-TBCÐcommunity-based multi-drug resistant tuberculosis care project.
In ªnot receiving CBMDR-TBC supportº group, before time = 120 days (approx.), predicted
values are an underestimate of the observed values, while after time = 120 days (approx.),
predicted values are an overestimate of the observed values.
In ªreceiving CBMDR-TBC supportº group, before time = 120 days (approx.), predicted values
are an overestimate of the observed values, while after time = 120 days (approx.), predicted
values are an underestimate of observed values.
S1 Annex. Dataset and programme file used for analysis.
This research was conducted through the Structured Operational Research and Training
Initiative (SORT IT), a global partnership led by the Special Programme for Research and
Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO/TDR). The model is based
on a course developed jointly by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung
Disease (The Union) and MedeÂcins sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders). The specific
SORT IT programme which resulted in this publication was jointly organised and
implemented by: The Centre for Operational Research, The Union, Paris, France;The Department
of Medical Research, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar; Disease Control Unit, The
Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar; The Union Country
Office, Mandalay, Myanmar; The Union South-East Asia Office, New Delhi, India; the
Operational Research Unit (LUXOR), MSF Brussels Operational Center, Luxembourg; Burnet
Conceptualization: Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw, Saw Thein, Aung Si
Thu, Htet Myet Win Maung, Kyaw Thu Soe, Si Thu Aung.
Data curation: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw, Khine Wut
Yee Kyaw, Nyein Nyein Aye, Aye Mon Phyo.
Formal analysis: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw, Si Thu
Funding acquisition: Pyae Phyo Wai.
Investigation: Pyae Phyo Wai.
Methodology: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw, Saw Thein,
Aung Si Thu, Htet Myet Win Maung, Si Thu Aung.
Project administration: Pyae Phyo Wai.
Resources: Pyae Phyo Wai, Saw Thein.
Software: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw.
13 / 15
Supervision: Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw, Si Thu Aung.
Validation: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw.
Visualization: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw.
Writing ± original draft: Pyae Phyo Wai.
Writing ± review & editing: Pyae Phyo Wai, Hemant Deepak Shewade, Nang Thu Thu Kyaw,
Saw Thein, Aung Si Thu, Khine Wut Yee Kyaw, Nyein Nyein Aye, Aye Mon Phyo, Htet
Myet Win Maung, Kyaw Thu Soe, Si Thu Aung.
14 / 15
World Health Organization (WHO) . Global Tuberculosis Report 2016 . Geneva, Switzerland; 2016 . doi: ISBN 978 92 4 156539 4
2. Hossain ST , Isaakidis P , Sagili KD , Islam S , Islam MA , Shewade HD , et al. The Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Treatment Cascade in Bangladesh . PLoS One . 2015 ; 10 : e0129155. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone. 0129155 PMID: 26110273
3. Singla N , Satyanarayana S , Sachdeva KS , Van den Bergh R , Reid T , Tayler-Smith K , et al. Impact of Introducing the Line Probe Assay on Time to Treatment Initiation of MDR- TB in Delhi, India. Sola C, editor. PLoS One . 2014 ; 9: 5 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone. 0102989 PMID: 25058124
4. Cox H , Dickson-Hall L , Ndjeka N , van't Hoog A , Grant A , Cobelens F , et al. Delays and loss to follow-up before treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis following implementation of Xpert MTB/RIF in South Africa: A retrospective cohort study . Suthar AB, editor. PLOS Med . South African National Department of Health; 2017 ; 14 : 19 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed. 1002238 PMID: 28222095
5. Harris RC , Grandjean L , Martin LJ , Miller AJP , Nkang J-EN , Allen V , et al. The effect of early versus late treatment initiation after diagnosis on the outcomes of patients treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: a systematic review . BMC Infect Dis . 2016 ; 16 : 193 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016 -1524-0 PMID: 27142682
6. Nair D , Navneethapandian PD , Tripathy JP , Harries AD , Klinton JS , Watson B , et al. Impact of rapid molecular diagnostic tests on time to treatment initiation and outcomes in patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis , Tamil Nadu, India. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg . 2016 ; 110 : 534 ± 541 . https://doi.org/ 10.1093/trstmh/trw060 PMID: 27738284
7. National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP). Guidelines for the Manangement of DR-TB in Myanmar 2016 . Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; 2016 .
8. National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) . National Tuberculosis Programme Myanmar Annual Report ( 2014 ). 2015 ;
9. National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) . Myanmar:National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis ( 2016 ± 2020 ). 2016 ; 126 .
10. Wai PP , Shewade HD , Kyaw NTT , Kyaw KWY , Thein S , Si Thu A , et al. Patients with MDR-TB on domiciliary care in programmatic settings in Myanmar: Effect of a support package on preventing early deaths . PLoS One. Public Library of Science; 2017 ; 12 : 1± 18 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone. 0187223 PMID: 29261669
11. The World Bank. The World Bank Report 2015 ± 16 . Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; 2015 .
12. Ministry of Immigration and Population M. The Population and Housing Census of Myanmar , 2014 . Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; 2014 .
13. National TB Programme Myanmar . National strategic plan for TB( 2016 ± 2020 ). Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; 2016 .
14. Cleves MA , Gould WW , Gutierrez RG , Marchenko YU . An Introduction to Survival Analysis Using Stata. Second edi . Texas, The United States of America: Stata Press; 2008 .
15. HernaÂn MA. The Hazards of Hazard Ratios . Epidemiology. 2010 ; 21 : 13 ± 15 . https://doi.org/10.1097/ EDE.0b013e3181c1ea43 PMID: 20010207
16. Xu Z , Xiao T , Li Y , Yang K , Tang Y , Bai L . Reasons for Non-Enrollment in Treatment among Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Patients in Hunan Province, China . PLoS One . Press of Military Medical Sciences; 2017 ; 12. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone. 0170718 PMID: 28114320
17. Ebonwu JI , Tint KS , Ihekweazu C . Low treatment initiation rates among multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in Gauteng , South Africa, 2011 . Int J Tuberc Lung Dis . 2013 ; 17 : 1043 ± 1048 . https://doi.org/10. 5588/ijtld.13.0071 PMID: 23827028
18. Loveday M , Wallengren K , Brust J , Roberts J , Voce A , Margot B , et al. Community-based care vs. centralised hospitalisation for MDR-TB patients , KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis . NIH Public Access; 2015 ; 19 : 17 . https://doi.org/10.5588/ijtld.14.0369 PMID: 25574914
19. Shewade HD , Govindarajan S , Thekkur P , Palanivel C , Muthaiah M , Kumar AM V , et al. MDR-TB in Puducherry, India: reduction in attrition and turnaround time in the diagnosis and treatment pathway . Public Heal Action. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease; 2016 ; 6 : 242 ± 246 . https://doi.org/10.5588/pha.16.0075 PMID: 28123961
20. Naidoo P , van Niekerk M , du Toit E , Beyers N , Leon N. Pathways to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment initiation: a qualitative comparison of patients' experiences in the era of rapid molecular diagnostic tests . BMC Health Serv Res . 2015 ; 15 : 488 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-015 - 1145-0 PMID: 26511931
World Health Organization (WHO) . End TB Strategy. Geneva , Switzerland; 2014 .