Child contact management in high tuberculosis burden countries: A mixed-methods systematic review

Szkwarko, Daria; Hirsch-Moverman, Yael; Du Plessis, Lienki; Du Preez, Karen; Carr, Catherine; Mandalakas, Anna M.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Considering the World Health Organization recommendation to implement child contact management (CCM) for TB, we conducted a mixed-methods systematic review to summarize CCM implementation, challenges, predictors, and recommendations. We searched the electronic databases of PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science for studies published between 1996–2017 that reported CCM data from high TB-burden countries. Protocol details for this systematic review were registered on PROSPERO: International prospective register of systematic reviews (#CRD42016038105). We formulated a search strategy to identify all available studies, published in English that specifically targeted a) population: child contacts (<15 years) exposed to TB in the household from programmatic settings in high burden countries (HBCs), b) interventions: CCM strategies implemented within the CCM cascade, c) comparisons: CCM strategies studied and compared in HBCs, and d) outcomes: monitoring and evaluation of CCM outcomes reported in the literature for each CCM cascade step. We included any quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods study design except for randomized-controlled trials, editorials or commentaries. Thirty-seven studies were reviewed. Child contact losses varied greatly for screening, isoniazid preventive therapy initiation, and completion. CCM challenges included: infrastructure, knowledge, attitudes, stigma, access, competing priorities, and treatment. CCM recommendations included: health system strengthening, health education, and improved preventive therapy. Identified predictors included: index case and clinic characteristics, perceptions of barriers and risk, costs, and treatment characteristics. CCM lacks standardization resulting in common challenges and losses throughout the CCM cascade. Prioritization of a CCM-friendly healthcare environment with improved CCM processes and tools; health education; and active, evidence-based strategies can decrease barriers. A focused approach toward every aspect of the CCM cascade will likely diminish losses throughout the CCM cascade and ultimately decrease TB related morbidity and mortality in children.


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International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs
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October 6, 2017