Improving screening and chemoprophylaxis among child contacts in India's RNTCP: a pilot study

B Rekha, K Jagarajamma, V Chandrasekaran, F Wares, R Sivanandham, S Swaminathan
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2013, 17 (2): 163-8

BACKGROUND: While contact screening and chemoprophylaxis is recommended by India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme for asymptomatic children aged <6 years who are household contacts of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, implementation is suboptimal.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of an isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) register and card in improving the adherence of health care workers (HCWs) to programmatic guidelines.

METHODOLOGY: This prospective study was conducted in two Tuberculosis Units in South India. Child contacts of smear-positive PTB patients initiated on treatment between November 2009 and January 2010 were screened, and IPT was initiated in asymptomatic children. HCWs were trained in the use of the IPT register and card. The process was evaluated using patient and HCW interviews.

RESULTS: Of 87 children identified aged <6 years, 71 (82%) were traced by HCWs; 53 were screened for TB and initiated on IPT, and 39 completed treatment. HCWs expressed satisfaction with the use of the IPT card and register, saying that it helped them to remember to complete required tasks.

CONCLUSION: In a programme setting, with HCW training and introduction of specific documentation (IPT card and register), implementation of contact tracing and chemoprophylaxis for child contacts improved from 19% to 61%.

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