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Free Content Contact screening and chemoprophylaxis in India's Revised Tuberculosis Control Programme: a situational analysis

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BACKGROUND: India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) recommends screening of all household contacts of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases for tuberculosis (TB) disease, and 6-month isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for asymptomatic children aged <6 years.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the implementation of child contact screening and IPT administration under the RNTCP.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study conducted in four randomly selected TB units (TUs), two in an urban (Chennai City) and two in a rural (Vellore District) area of Tamil Nadu, South India, from July to September 2008. The study involved the perusal of TB treatment cards of source cases (new or retreatment smear-positive PTB patients started on treatment), interview of source cases and focus group discussions (FGDs) among health care workers.

RESULTS: Interviews of 253 PTB patients revealed that of 220 contacts aged <14 years, only 31 (14%) had been screened for TB, and that of 84 household children aged <6 years, only 16 (19%) had been initiated on IPT. The treatment cards of source cases lacked documentation of contact details. FGDs revealed greater TB awareness among urban health care workers, but a lack of detailed knowledge about procedures.

CONCLUSION: Provision for documentation using a separate IPT card and focused training may help improve the implementation of contact screening and IPT.
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Keywords: IPT; RNTCP; chemoprophylaxis; children; contact screening

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, India 2: Office of the World Health Organization Representative to India, New Delhi, India

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on lung health world-wide.

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