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

PLoS One. 2017 Aug 1;12(8):e0182185. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182185. eCollection 2017.


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.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Contact Tracing
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Registries
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Stigma
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*


  • Isoniazid