BACKGROUND: Recruitment to randomised clinical trials can be challenging and slow recruitment has serious consequences. This study aimed to summarise and reflect on the challenges in enrolling young children to a multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) prevention trial in South Africa.METHODS: Recruitment to the Tuberculosis Child Multidrug-resistant Preventive Therapy Trial (TB-CHAMP) was tracked using an electronic recruiting platform, which was used to generate a recruiting flow diagram. Structured personnel questionnaires, meeting minutes and workshop notes were thematically analysed to elucidate barriers and solutions.RESULT: Of 3,682 (85.3%) adult rifampicin (RIF) resistant index cases with pre-screening outcomes, 1597 (43.4%) reported having no children under 5 years in the household and 562 (15.3%) were RIF-monoresistant. More than nine index cases were pre-screened for each child enrolled. Numerous barriers to recruitment were identified. Thorough recruitment planning, customised tracking data systems, a dedicated recruiting team with strong leadership, adequate resources to recruit across large geographic areas, and excellent relationships with routine TB services emerged as key factors to ensure successful recruitment.CONCLUSION: Recruitment of children into MDR-TB prevention trials can be difficult. Several MDR-TB prevention trials are underway, and lessons learnt from TB-CHAMP will be relevant to these and other TB prevention studies.