M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya plays the lead role to introduce the first child-friendly TB medicines in the world

Posted on : Saturday, 1st October 2016

 Kenya is the first country in the world to adopt the nationwide use of the child-friendly TB medicines.

The Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko said from October 1st, 2016 all children diagnosed with tuberculosis will be treated using the improved child-friendly medicines free of charge at all public facilities.
 
“The improved medicines are pleasantly flavored and dissolve in water therefore are easier to administer. This improves the daily lives of children and their families struggling with TB,’’ said the DMS during the launch of the child-friendly TB medicines on Tuesday.
 
In 2016, the World Health Organization prequalified the use of improved child-friendly medicines for treatment of TB in children.
 
The development of the medicines was overseen by TB Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization, and was funded by UNITAID and other partners.
 
“Until recently, the child TB treatment regimen comprised of multiple pills of many formulations. This regimen was complex to use for both Health Care Workers and caregivers. The tablets were big and difficult for the children to swallow hence had to be crushed and sometimes mixed with food. This resulted in inaccurate dosing and poor adherence,’’ said Dr. Kioko.
 
He said Kenya has also adopted the use of GeneXpert as the preferred first test for diagnosing TB in children and called for more partnership to save vulnerable children from TB.
 
“TB has surpassed HIV and we need to invest more and utilize available diagnostics and medicines. I wish appeal to all present here today to ensure that all children with TB are found and treated,” he stressed.
 
The DMS observed that TB is the 4th leading cause of death in Kenya. The high prevalence is attributed to HIV, poor ventilation, over-crowding, and poor nutrition. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs, laughs, sneezes or sings.
 
“Children exposed to infectious persons are more likely to develop TB disease. Younger children are more likely to develop severe forms of the disease,” he noted.
 
“My seven-year granddaughter had TB— I did not know she had TB because it started as flu. When I took her to hospital the doctor discovered she had TB and it had affected her spine. Now she is on medication and I thank Government,” said Jemima Mutave, Ndulu’s grandmother during the launch.
 
In 2015, Kenya reported 81,518 cases of Tuberculosis, among these 8.5% were children. TB still remains a major public health problem in Kenya and significantly contributes to the high morbidity and mortality among children.
 
“These new treatment won’t have an impact until they reach the children that need them’’, said Dr. Cherise Scott, Director of paediatric Programs, TB Alliance. “We are proud to partner with the Government of Kenya, the first of many countries, as they work to translate the potential of these medicines into lives saved.’’
 
At least one million children become ill with TB every year around the world with 140,000 losing their lives. Nearly 7,000 infants and children here in Kenya had TB in 2015. Those under the age of five are at a greater risk of having severe forms of TB and dying from the disease.

 

Source : www.health.go.ke
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