Mental health issues associated with the management of tuberculosis in Homabay, Busia and Kakamega Counties, Kenya

Despite the implementation of patient-centred care, mental health issues remain a significant risk factor and comorbidity for Tuberculosis (TB) disease. Mental health issues being co-morbidities to TB are likely to increase the disease burden of the affected population. This study therefore investigated the prevalence and impact of mental health issues in Tuberculosis (TB) patients. This cross-sectional study design used mixed methods in data collection. The study used structured questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. 127 TB patients were purposively selected from a group of patients who previously recovered successfully, with a history of relapse or are currently on TB treatment in high-volume facilities in Homa Bay, Busia and Kakamega Counties. 30 Key informant interviews were conducted with Healthcare workers. Quantitative data analysis was done using STATA version 14. Thematic analysis was employed to analyze qualitative data using NVivo version 10. The findings showed that the most common mental health issues affecting TB patients were anxiety (66%) and depression (55%), which were commonly experienced during the presumptive stage of TB. Qualitative data revealed that stigma was the main barrier that hindered TB patients from accessing care. TB patients articulated the benefits of support structures ranging from positive encouragement, reminders on taking drugs, accompaniment to the clinic, and financial support in TB management. Furthermore, the study established that the majority of Health Care Workers (HCWs) were not prepared to handle TB patients' mental issues, a gap that is likely to impact the quality of care TB patients receive. The study established that mental health issues impact TB treatment outcomes. Healthcare systems should prioritize the integration of mental health care into TB programs to address the high prevalence of mental health issues among TB patients.
mental health; TB treatment ; Healthcare systems
Otieno, John, Albino Luciani, Sheila Lumumba, et al. 'Mental Health Issues Associated with the Management of Tuberculosis in Homabay, Busia and Kakamega Counties, Kenya', PloS One, vol. 19/no. 4, (2024), pp. e0298268-e0298268.