Childhood tuberculosis in Mauritania, 2010-2015: diagnosis and outcomes in Nouakchott and the rest of the country
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JournalPublic Health Action
AbstractSetting: The National Tuberculosis Programme, Mauritania. Objective: To compare the diagnosis and treatment outcomes of childhood tuberculosis (TB) cases (aged <15 years) registered between 2010 and 2015 inside and outside Nouakchott, the capital city. Design: This was a retrospective comparative cohort study. Results: A total of 948 children with TB were registered. The registration rate was 10 times higher in Nouakchott. The proportion of children among all TB cases was higher inside than outside Nouakchott (7.5% vs. 4.6%, P < 0.01). Under-fives represented 225 (24%) of all childhood TB cases, of whom 204 (91%) were registered in Nouakchott. Extra-pulmonary TB was more common in Nouakchott, while smear-negative TB was less common. Treatment success was similar inside and outside Nouakchott (national rate 61%). The principal unsuccessful outcomes were loss to follow-up outside Nouakchott (21% vs. 11%, P < 0.01) while transfers out were more common in the city (25% vs. 14%, P = 0.01). Being aged <5 years (OR 1.2, 95%CI 1.1-1.5) was associated with an unsuccessful outcome. Conclusion: This study indicates problems in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood TB in Mauritania, especially outside the city of Nouakchott. We suggest strengthening clinical diagnosis and management, improving communications between TB treatment centres and health services and pressing the TB world to develop more accurate and easy-to-use diagnostic tools for children.