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Internal Medicine (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Background Mental disorders account for nine percent of the overall global burden of disease and are among the top ten leading causes of disability. Mental illness and tuberculosis share risk factors including poverty, overcrowding, stigma, poor nutrition, substance use and retro-viral disease co-infection. Presence of mental illness in tuberculosis delays health-seeking, affects drug adherence, increases cost of treatment, prolongs disease duration, lowers quality of life, and increases mortality. Early diagnosis, linkage, and treatment of psychiatric morbidity among patients with tuberculosis would improve outcomes for both. This study thus aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with psychiatric morbidity among patients on treatment for tuberculosis at a low- middle- income country.

Methods A cross-sectional study carried out at the tuberculosis clinic at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Eldoret, Kenya. 367 participants on TB treatment were interviewed using Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) tool. The key outcome was presence of psychiatric illness. Pearson’s Chi-square and logistic regression were used to assess relationships at bivariate and multivariate level respectively.

Results Majority of the respondents were male (61.3%) and overall median age was 33 years. About half of participants (48.5%) had at least one psychiatric illness. Common disorders were alcohol use disorder (30.3%), depression (23.4%), substance use disorder (12.8%) and suicidality (8.2%). Odds of ‘any psychiatric illness’ were increased by being male (aOR = 1.92; P = 0.04), being separated or divorced (aOR = 6.86; P = 0.002), using alcohol (aOR = 3.2; P<0.001), having been previously treated for tuberculosis (aOR = 2.76; P = 0.01), having other medical comorbidities (aOR = 4.2; P = 0.004) and family history of mental illness (aOR = 2.4; P = 0.049).

Conclusion Almost half of the patients on treatment for tuberculosis had at least one psychiatric illness. Introduction of protocols for screening for mental illness and integration of mental health services with tuberculosis care would aid prompt diagnosis, referral, and quality of care.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.