Theory-Informed Design of a Tailored Strategy for Implementing Household TB Contact Investigation in Uganda

J. Lucian Davis, Irene Ayakaka, Joseph M. Ggita, Emmanuel Ochom, Diana Babirye, Patricia Turimumahoro, Amanda J. Gupta, Frank R. Mugabe, Mari Armstrong-Hough, Adithya Cattamanchi, Achilles Katamba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2012, the World Health Organization has recommended household contact investigation as an evidence-based intervention to find and treat individuals with active tuberculosis (TB), the most common infectious cause of death worldwide after COVID-19. Unfortunately, uptake of this recommendation has been suboptimal in low- and middle-income countries, where the majority of affected individuals reside, and little is known about how to effectively deliver this service. Therefore, we undertook a systematic process to design a novel, theory-informed implementation strategy to promote uptake of contact investigation in Uganda, using the COM-B (Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behavior) model and the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW) framework. We systematically engaged national, clinic-, and community-based stakeholders and collectively re-examined the results of our own formative, parallel mixed-methods studies. We identified three core behaviors within contact investigation that we wished to change, and multiple antecedents (i.e., barriers and facilitators) of those behaviors. The BCW framework helped identify multiple intervention functions targeted to these antecedents, as well as several policies that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of those interventions. Finally, we identified multiple behavior change techniques and policies that we incorporated into a multi-component implementation strategy, which we compared to usual care in a household cluster-randomized trial. We introduced some components in both arms, including those designed to facilitate initial uptake of contact investigation, with improvement relative to historical controls. Other components that we introduced to facilitate completion of TB evaluation—home-based TB-HIV evaluation and follow-up text messaging—returned negative results due to implementation failures. In summary, the Behavior Change Wheel framework provided a feasible and transparent approach to designing a theory-informed implementation strategy. Future studies should explore the use of experimental methods such as micro-randomized trials to identify the most active components of implementation strategies, as well as more creative and entrepreneurial methods such as human-centered design to better adapt the forms and fit of implementation strategies to end users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number837211
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Mar 24 2022


  • Uganda
  • contact investigation
  • implementation mapping
  • implementation science
  • implementation strategies
  • intervention design
  • low-and-middle-income countries
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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