Kenya To Release Child-Friendly TB Medicine

Fredrick Ngugi September 28, 2016
A Kenyan mother holds her infant. The Hill

Infant deaths related to tuberculosis (TB) in Kenya could soon be a thing of the past following the government’s announcement that it is set to release child-friendly TB medicine in to the population, according to Reuters.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopas Mailu said Kenya plans to introduce TB drugs that are friendly to infants by October 1st.

“Now, with the appropriate treatments, we can make rapid progress in finding and treating children with TB so we can achieve a TBfree generation,” Mailu said.

The new formulation comes with a fruit-flavored taste and in doses favorable to children. It is also designed to dissolve in water for ease of ingestion.

Currently, the treatment of tuberculosis in children has been a major challenge owing to the fact that caregivers have to crush bitter-tasting pills and dissolve the powder in water for children to take.

Kenya will be the first country in the world to adopt this new remedy for tuberculosis.

The new medicine, developed by non-profit organization TB Alliance, is set to benefit at least 155,000 children currently suffering from TB from 18 countries that have already placed an order.


Devastating Statistics

According to TB Alliance, tuberculosis still remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases, claiming the lives of at least 140,000 children every year.

Statistics from the World Health Organization show that at least 1 million children across the world suffer from tuberculosis every year.

In 2015, Kenya recorded about 7,000 cases of TB in children, with those below the age of 5 being at a higher risk of dying from the disease.

“These new treatments will not have an impact until they reach the children that need them. We are proud to partner with the government of Kenya, the first of many countries, as they work to translate the potential of these medicine into lives saved,” Dr. Cherise Scott, director of Pediatric Programs for TB Alliance, said in a statement.

The new TB medicine is an improved formulation of the existing TB drugs and is the first to meet WHO guidelines for childhood TB treatment, according to the TB Alliance.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 28, 2016


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