Background: Assessing factors associated with mortality among COVID-19 patients could guide in developing context relevant interventions to mitigate the risk. The study aimed to describe mortality and associated factors among COVID-19 patients admitted at six health facilities in Uganda.
Methods: We reviewed medical records of patients admitted with COVID-19 between January 1st 2021 and December 31st 2021 in six hospitals in Uganda. Using Stata version 17.0, Kaplan Meier and Cox regression analyses were performed to describe the time to death and estimate associations between various exposures and time to death. Finally, accelerated failure time (AFT) models with a lognormal distribution were used to estimate corresponding survival time ratios.
Results: Out of the 1040 study participants, 234 (22.5%: 95%CI 12.9 to 36.2%) died. The mortality rate was 30.7 deaths per 1000 person days, 95% CI (26.9 to 35.0). The median survival time was 33 days, IQR (9–82). Factors associated with time to COVID-19 death included; age ≥ 60 years [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 2.4, 95% CI: [1.7, 3.4]], having malaria test at admission [aHR = 2.0, 95% CI:[1.0, 3.9]], a COVID-19 severity score of severe/critical [aHR = 6.7, 95% CI:[1.5, 29.1]] and admission to a public hospital [aHR = 0.4, 95% CI:[0.3, 0.6]]. The survival time of patients aged 60 years or more is estimated to be 63% shorter than that of patients aged less than 60 years [adjusted time ratio (aTR) 0.37, 95% CI 0.24, 0.56]. The survival time of patients admitted in public hospitals was 2.5 times that of patients admitted in private hospitals [aTR 2.5 to 95%CI 1.6, 3.9]. Finally, patients with a severe or critical COVID-19 severity score had 87% shorter survival time than those with a mild score [aTR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03, 0.56].
Conclusion: In-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients was high. Factors associated with shorter survival; age ≥ 60 years, a COVID-19 severity score of severe or critical, and having malaria at admission. We therefore recommend close monitoring of COVID-19 patients that are elderly and also screening for malaria in COVID-19 admitted patients.