Interventions for high-burden infectious diseases in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health; Women and Child Health


Background: Approximately 2.2 million deaths were reported among school-age children and young people in 2019, and infectious diseases remain the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in low and middle-income countries. We aim to synthesize evidence on interventions for high-burden infectious diseases among children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 years.
Methods: We conducted a comprehensive literature search until December 31, 2020. Two review authors independently screened studies for relevance, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias.
Results: We included a total of 31 studies, including 81 596 participants. Sixteen studies focused on diarrhea; 6 on tuberculosis; 2 on human immunodeficiency virus; 2 on measles; 1 study each on acute respiratory infections, malaria, and urinary tract infections; and 2 studies targeted multiple diseases. We did not find any study on other high burden infectious diseases among this age group. We could not perform meta-analysis for most outcomes because of variances in interventions and outcomes. Findings suggests that for diarrhea, water treatment, water filtration, and zinc supplementation have some protective effect. For tuberculosis, peer counseling, contingency contract, and training of health care workers led to improvements in tuberculosis detection and treatment completion. Continuation of cotrimoxazole therapy reduced the risk of tuberculosis and hospitalizations among human immunodeficiency virus-infected children and reduced measles complications and pneumonia cases among measles-infected children. Zinc supplementation led to a faster recovery in urinary tract infections with a positive effect in reducing symptoms.
Conclusions: There is scarcity of data on the effectiveness of interventions for high-burden infectious diseases among school-aged children and adolescents.


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