Diagnosis and outcome of childhood tuberculosis: implementing public health policy in three districts of Pakistan

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 Jul;14(7):872-7.


Setting: All nine public sector hospitals in three districts of Pakistan.

Objective: To estimate case notifications of children with tuberculosis (TB) and their outcomes.

Design: A retrospective cohort following all children aged <15 years placed on TB treatment under the National TB Control Programme (NTP) in public hospitals. The study period was 2 years before and 2 years after the implementation of new NTP policy guidelines for childhood TB. Data were collected from hospital TB registers, patient treatment cards and quarterly reports.

Results: With the introduction of the new NTP policy, case notification of childhood TB increased from 189 (2004-2005) to 731 for the 2 years 2006-2007. The annual notification rate of childhood TB cases increased from 1.4 (2004-2005) to 5.2 per 100 000 population (2006-2007). Of the total 920 childhood TB cases registered, 610 were pulmonary, 202 extra-pulmonary and the remaining 108 unclassified. The three-fold increase in case notification was accompanied by a lack of follow-up, resulting in an increase in unknown treatment outcomes from 21.7% to 73.3%.

Conclusion: Managing children with TB in routine NTP practice is possible, but without adequate operational guidelines, expanding services and follow-up, it can lead to suboptimal results.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Notification / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control


  • Antitubercular Agents