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Isoniazid preventive therapy among child contacts of TB patients, India

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BACKGROUND: Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for child contacts of TB patients, a globally accepted intervention, needs to be evaluated in diverse geographical regions.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the extent of IPT coverage and adherence, to ascertain its sociodemographic and programmatic correlates and to explore existing constraints from service providers and beneficiaries´ perspectives.

METHODS: A mixed-method study was conducted in January–June 2021 in Paschim Bardhaman District, West Bengal, India. Quantitative assessment was done among 280 child contacts of TB cases registered between January and December 2020 in all TB units in the district. Primary caregivers were interviewed using a pre-designed questionnaire. Two focus group discussions with all senior treatment supervisors of the district and in-depth interviews with 12 purposively selected caregivers of the children were undertaken. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.

RESULTS: Only 48.9% (137/280) of child contacts were screened; 58.9% (165/280) were initiated on IPT and 40% (66/165) adhered to a full course. Coverage of the full 6-month IPT among total study participants was 23.6% (66/280). Household visits by health personnel and initial screening significantly predicted increased coverage. Programmatic inadequacies, poor understanding, social stigma and COVID situation were major constraints.

CONCLUSION: Coverage of IPT remains unacceptably low and requires health system strengthening for effectively implementing current recommendations of TB preventive treatment.

Keywords: India; child contacts; isoniazid preventive therapy; mixed-method study; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata, India 2: Department of Community Medicine, Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, Burdwan, India 3: Asansol Chief Medical Officer of Health´s Office, Asansol, India

Publication date: July 1, 2022

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