JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tuberculosis contact screening and isoniazid preventive therapy in a South Indian district: operational issues for programmatic consideration

Madhavi Pothukuchi, Sharath Burugina Nagaraja, Santosha Kelamane, Srinath Satyanarayana, Shashidhar, Sai Babu, Puneet Dewan, Fraser Wares
PloS One 2011, 6 (7): e22500
21799875

BACKGROUND: Under India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), all household contacts of sputum smear positive Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) patients are screened for TB. In the absence of active TB disease, household contacts aged <6 years are eligible for Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) (5 milligrams/kilogram body weight/day) for 6 months.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the number of household contacts aged <6 years, of sputum smear positive PTB patients registered for treatment under RNTCP from April to June'2008 in Krishna District, to assess the extent to which they are screened for TB disease and in its absence initiated on IPT.

METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted. Households of all smear positive PTB cases (n = 848) registered for treatment from April to June'2008 were included. Data on the number of household contacts aged <6 years, the extent to which they were screened for TB disease, and the status of initiation of IPT, was collected.

RESULTS: Households of 825 (97%) patients were visited, and 172 household contacts aged <6 years were identified. Of them, 116 (67%) were evaluated for TB disease; none were found to be TB diseased and 97 (84%) contacts were initiated on IPT and 19 (16%) contacts were not initiated on IPT due to shortage of INH tablets in peripheral health centers. The reasons for non-evaluation of the remaining eligible children (n = 56, 33%) include no home visit by the health staff in 25 contacts, home visit done but not evaluated in 31 contacts. House-hold contacts in rural areas were less likely to be evaluated and initiated on IPT [risk ratio 6.65 (95% CI; 3.06-14.42)].

CONCLUSION: Contact screening and IPT implementation under routine programmatic conditions is sub-optimal. There is an urgent need to sensitize all concerned programme staff on its importance and establishment of mechanisms for rigorous monitoring.

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