The PREVENT study to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of a community-based intervention to prevent childhood tuberculosis in Lesotho: study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

Hirsch-Moverman, Yael; Howard, Andrea A.; Frederix, Koen; Lebelo, Limakatso; Hesseling, Anneke; Nachman, Sharon; Mantell, Joanne E.; Lekhela, Tsepang; Maama, Llang B.; El-Sadr, Wafaa Mahmoud

Effective, evidence-based interventions to prevent childhood tuberculosis (TB) in high TB/HIV-burden, resource-limited settings are urgently needed. There is limited implementation of evidence-based contact management strategies, including isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT), for child contacts of TB cases in Lesotho.

This mixed-methods implementation science study utilizes a two-arm cluster-randomized trial design with randomization at the health facility level. The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of a combination community-based intervention (CBI) versus standard of care (SOC) for the management of child TB contacts. The study includes three phases: (I) exploratory phase; (II) intervention implementation and testing phase; (III) post-intervention explanatory phase. Healthcare provider interviews to inform intervention refinement (phase I) were completed in December 2015. In phase II, 10 health facilities were randomized to deliver the CBI or SOC, with stratification by facility type (i.e., hospital vs. health center). CBI holistically addresses the complex provider-related, patient-related, and caregiver-related barriers to prevention of childhood TB through nurse training and mentorship; health education for caregivers and patients by village health workers; adherence support using text messaging and village health workers; and multidisciplinary team meetings, where programmatic data are reviewed and challenges and solutions are discussed. SOC sites follow country guidelines for child TB contact management. Routine TB program data will be abstracted for all adult TB cases newly registered during the study period and their child contacts from TB registers and cards. The anticipated sample size is 1080 child contacts. Primary outcomes are yield (number) of child contacts, including children < 5 years of age and HIV-positive children < 15 years of age; IPT initiation; and IPT completion. Secondary outcomes include HIV testing; yield of active prevalent TB among child contacts; and acceptability and utilization of CBI components. Intervention implementation began in February 2016 and is ongoing. Post-intervention interviews with healthcare providers and caregivers (phase III) commenced in February 2017.

The PREVENT study tests the effectiveness and acceptability of a novel combination CBI for child TB contact management in Lesotho. If effective, CBI will have important implications for addressing childhood TB in Lesotho and elsewhere.

Trial registration,

. Registered on 15 January 2016.

Geographic Areas


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Ttuberculosis prevention, Child contact management, IPT initiation, IPT completion, Cluster-randomized trial, Mixed-methods, Iimplementation science, Intervention effectiveness, Intervention acceptability