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Decentralisation of child tuberculosis services increases case finding and uptake of preventive therapy in Uganda

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BACKGROUND: A lack of capacity to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) in children at peripheral health facilities and limited contact screening and management contribute to low case finding in TB-endemic settings.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the implementation of a pilot project that strengthened diagnosis, treatment and prevention of child TB at peripheral health facilities in Uganda.

METHODS: In June 2015, health care workers at peripheral health facilities were trained to diagnose and treat child TB. Community health care workers were trained to screen household TB contacts. Before-and-after analysis as well as comparisons with non-intervention districts were used to evaluate impact on caseload and treatment outcomes.

RESULTS: By December 2016, the average number of children (age < 15 years) diagnosed with TB increased from 45 to 108 per quarter. The proportion of child TB among all TB cases increased from 8.8% to 15%, and the proportion completing treatment increased from 65% to 82%. Of 2270 child TB contacts screened, 55 (2.4%) were diagnosed with TB. Of 910 eligible child contacts, 670 (74%) started preventive therapy, 569 (85%) of whom completed therapy.

CONCLUSION: The strengthening of child TB services at peripheral health facilities in Uganda was associated with increased case finding, improved treatment outcomes and the successful implementation of contact screening and management.
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Keywords: Uganda; child; contact screening; implementation research; preventive therapy; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France;, The Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France; 3: The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Baylor College of Children's Medical Foundation, Kampala, 4: Baylor College of Children's Medical Foundation, Kampala, 5: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France;, United Nations Children's Fund, New York, USA; 6: The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme, Ministry of Health, Kampala, 7: Mildmay Uganda, Kampala, Uganda; 8: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France;, Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: 01 November 2018

More about this publication?
  • 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 tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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