Kenya is set to be the first country in the world to roll out a child-friendly fixed-dose combination formulation for the treatment of TB in children.
This is a milestone in the fight against TB considering that an estimated 6,000 cases of TB were diagnosed in children last year alone. It should be gainsaid that no child in this day and age should die of TB. This effort to roll out the pediatric formulation should be seen in the light of addressing the TB challenge in the sense that the new treatment will now be easier to administer, with lesser pills that also taste better.
According to Prof Obimbo, a Professor of pediatrics at the University of Nairobi, statistics globally show that about one third of all pediatric TB cases are currently not under any care. Prof. Obimbo was speaking at a sensitization meeting where she emphasized that to improve on this statistic locally, there is need to engage all stakeholders and make messages about pediatric TB clearer and simpler.
Prof. Obimbo noted that for success in pediatric TB case detection, a high index of suspicion is required across every service point where children are seen.
Also speaking during the same forum, Dr Immaculate Kathure from the NTLD Program noted that children need to be given priority as they have a life ahead of them with big dreams.
It is well known to a majority of the population now that as long as there is someone in close proximity with anyone infected with TB, the child is always the easiest recipient. Therefore, everyone needs to be vigilant to ensure the safety of the children from easy infection. For instance, mothers diagnosed with TB should ensure their children are also screened and put on treatment.
The date for the national roll-out of the child-friendly formulation for pediatric TB has been set for October 1, 2016. Let us all be part of the process that enables the dream of children free of TB in Kenya.