|Dr S Chaturvedi, DTO|
The "Roadmap for Childhood Tuberculosis: Towards Zero Deaths" - the first-ever plan which specifically addresses TB in children and outlines the path towards zero deaths from childhood TB - was jointly launched on 1st October 2013, by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Stop TB Partnership and other partners.
This Childhood TB Roadmap potentially can help strengthen prevention, confirmed and early diagnosis and successful treatment completion for children with TB, as per the experts at the Media Dialogue organized by CNS Vote For Health campaign.
|Dr Surya Kant, Chairman, |
UP State Task Force for TB Control
and Vice President, Indian Chest Society
Dr Sushil Chaturvedi, District TB Officer, Lucknow and a noted physician said: “Every day over 200 children under the age of 15 die worldwide from this preventable and curable disease, bringing the annual death toll to 74,000. Current diagnostics, toxic drugs and inadequate drug formulations are insufficient to respond to the needs of children with TB.”
"If we can shift TB diagnosis and treatment out of specialized programs and into other existing maternal and child health activities, we automatically gain reach and scale. Combining that scale with investment in tools and medicine would save tens of thousands of lives," said José Luis Castro, Interim Executive Director of The Union.
Dr Chaturvedi added “Patient education is empowering. We as citizens must be aware that if someone has TB in household then children should get tested. Under DOTS, we do contact tracing of TB patients registered with us. Children of these patients are first tested by a paediatrician. If they are found with active TB disease they are put on paediatric TB treatment. But all those children who do not test positive for active TB disease, but have latent TB, are put on Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) - the current revised dosage is 10mg/kg as compared to earlier 5mg/kg.”
Increased action to implement contact investigation to detect and manage TB in children; advocacy for research on new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for childhood TB; improved recording and reporting of data on childhood TB; scaling up of capacity building of health workers to detect and manage children with TB antenatal screening for TB – detect, treat or prevent TB in mothers, are some of the urgent steps we must take, said Dr Surya Kant.
“Infection control in healthcare settings and community/ household settings must be maintained. Proper cross-ventilation, cough hygiene, avoiding crowds in OPDs, wearing masks, proper waste hospital disposal etc are important. Curing adult TB to prevent childhood TB is equally a priority” said Dr Surya Kant.
Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service - CNS