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

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2009 Dec;13(12):1507-12.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Contact Tracing
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Documentation / methods
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration
  • Rural Health Services / standards
  • Rural Population
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / transmission
  • Urban Health Services / organization & administration
  • Urban Health Services / standards
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid