Tuberculosis Contact Screening and Isoniazid Preventive Therapy Among Children Under 5 in the Mbeya and Songwe Regions, Tanzania

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Yesaya K Mwasubila
Issa Sabi
Rogatus Kabyemera
Nyanda E Ntinginya
Reginald Sauve
Benson Kidenya


Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends contact screening and initiation of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for children under 5 years of age exposed to a sputum smear-positive (SS+) tuberculosis (TB) source case. We conducted this study in order to assess implementation of these recommendations in southwestern Tanzania.

Methods: We conducted this cross-sectional study from June to August 2015 in 12 selected health facilities in the Mbeya and Songwe regions of Tanzania. Adult SS+ pulmonary TB patients living in the same household as children under 5 were enrolled. Structured questionnaires were used to obtain sociodemographic information and details about screening and intervention activity related to contact children under 5. Data were analysed using Stata version 11.0.

Results: We enrolled 257 index cases, who collectively had 433 contact children under 5. The median age of the index cases was 34 years (interquartile range 28 to 41) and 52.9% were male. Out of 433 contacts, 31 (7.2%) were screened for TB, of whom 7 (22.6%) were treated for presumptive TB. Among those screened, 24 were not diagnosed with TB, of whom only 8 (33.3%) received IPT.

Conclusion: Low uptake of TB contact screening and IPT administration among eligible children under 5 was observed in this study. Health-care workers should be sensitized to screening of household contacts of adults with SS+ TB and initiate IPT in those who are eligible.

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