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Background and Objectives: The World Health Organization End tuberculosis (TB) Strategy, approved in 2014, aims at a 90% reduction in TB deaths and an 80% reduction in TB incidence rate by 2030. One of the suggested interventions is the systematic screening of people with suspected TB, belonging to specific risk groups. The Hospital Raoul Follereau (HRF) in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, is the National Reference Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Disease of the country. We performed an active case-finding program among pediatric age family members and cohabitants of admitted adult TB patients, from January to December 2013.
Methods: Newly admitted adult patients with a diagnosis of TB were invited to bring their family members or cohabitants in childhood age for clinical evaluation in a dedicated outpatient setting within the hospital compound. All the children brought to our attention underwent medical examination and chest x-ray. In children with clinical and/or radiologic finding consistent with pulmonary TB a sputum-smear was requested.
Results: All admitted adult patients accepted to bring their children cohabitants. In total, 287 children were examined in 2013. Forty-four patients (15%) were diagnosed with TB. The number needed to screen (NNS) to detect one case of TB was 7. 35 patients (80%) had pulmonary TB; 2 of them were sputum smear-positive. No adjunctive personnel cost was necessary for the intervention.
Conclusions: children with TB represent a large proportion of the pool of undetected TB. A simple TB active case-finding program targeted to high risk groups like children households of severely ill admitted patients with TB can successfully be implemented in a country with limited resources.
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