Tuberculosis (TB)

Childhood tuberculosis

First-Ever Targeted Roadmap Outlines Steps to End Childhood TB Deaths

WASHINGTON D.C. | 1 October 2013 -- The deaths of more than 74 000 children from tuberculosis (TB) could be prevented each year through measures outlined in the first ever action plan developed specifically on TB and children.

The Roadmap for Childhood TB: Toward Zero Deaths, launched today in Washington D.C. by global TB leaders, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Stop TB Partnership, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Treatment Action Group (TAG), estimates that US$120 million per year could have a major impact on saving tens of thousands of children’s lives from TB, including among children infected with both TB and HIV.

Childhood TB

The urgency of the problem of TB in children, whose full scope is still not fully known, cannot be underestimated. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates in 2012 revealed that up to 74 000 children die from TB each year and children account for around half a million new cases annually. It should be noted that the estimated deaths only include those in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative children. In fact, the actual burden of TB in children is likely higher, especially given the challenge in diagnosing childhood TB. Compounding this difficulty with diagnosis is the fact that children with TB often come from families that are poor, lack knowledge about the disease and live in communities with limited access to health services. Another compelling reason is that TB is important in the context of children’s overall survival. We do not know the extent to which TB is a cause of childhood deaths that are reported in global statistics as deaths due to HIV, pneumonia, malnutrition or meningitis, but the number is likely to be substantial.

The goal of reaching zero TB deaths among children worldwide is within our grasp. Achieving this requires sustained advocacy, greater commitment, mobilization of increased resources and a joint effort by all stakeholders involved in providing health care for children and in TB control.

The Childhood TB Subgroup

The Childhood TB Subgroup of the Stop TB Partnership was established in 2003 to promote research, policy development, the formulation and implementation of guidelines, the mobilization of human and financial resources, and collaboration with partners working in relevant fields (including maternal and child health, immunization and HIV) to achieve the goal of decreased childhood TB mortality and morbidity

Selected childhood TB documents

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