Tuberculosis (TB)

Childhood TB

kids in a remote village in Cambodia

The urgency of the problem of TB in children, whose full scope is still not fully known, cannot be underestimated. According to WHO estimates, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 250 000 children died of TB in 2016 (including 52 000 children with HIV associated TB). However, the actual burden of TB in children is likely higher given the challenge in diagnosing childhood TB.

WHO and its partners have developed a roadmap for reaching the goal of zero TB deaths among children worldwide. 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.

fact buffet


1 MillionAt least 1 million children become ill with TB each year. Children represent about 10-11% of all TB cases

FDC Factsheet
pdf, 639kb


250 000This includes 52 000 TB deaths among children who were HIV-positive

More on TB/HIV co-infection
pdf, 736kb

Preventive TB treatment

161 740Only 13% of eligible children (1.3 million) recieved preventive TB treatment in 2016.

Global TB Report 2017

Key topics

Who is at risk?

Children can present with TB disease at any age but most commonly, in TB-endemic countries, between 1-4 years. Pulmonary TB is the commonest type of TB in children. Extrapulmonary TB can present in a wide variety of anatomical sites.

Support provided by GTB to countries

GTB supports programme implementation through indirect, and direct support. Support is requested through WHO and partners. GTB works closely with partners to ensure appropriate TA is provided to meet the needs as identified.

Information related to childhood and adolescent TB

  • 24 March 2017

    Statement on the use of child-friendly fixed-dose combinations for the treatment of TB in children

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF has issued a joint statement, urging all National TB Programmes to replace the previously used medicines for children weighing less than 25 kg with the child-friendly dispersible TB fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) at the soonest possible time. WHO and UNICEF advise against continued usage of the old sub-optimally dosed FDCs or adult formulations (crushed tablets), which may lead to under or over-dosing, unfavourable treatment outcomes, and high likelihood of contributing to the development of drug resistance. The child-friendly FDCs were launched in December 2015 by WHO and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), with support from UNITAID. They were developed in line with the revised dosing to achieve the appropriate therapeutic levels, that was published in the WHO Guidance for national tuberculosis programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children.

  • 25 October 2016

    WHO guidance for the use of delamanid in children and adolescents

    Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a public health challenge of growing concern. Approximately 580 000 people acquired MDR-TB in 2015, with children accounting for close to 30 000 of MDR-TB cases.

    The use of delamanid in the treatment of MDR-TB was recommended by the WHO in 2014. However, due to the lack of evidence on the use of delamanid in the paediatric populations, these interim policy recommendations were limited to adult MDR-TB patients under very strict conditions. In view of recent data on the use of delamanid in children diagnosed with MDR-TB, WHO convened an independent, multidisciplinary, international expert panel to assess new data and develop an addendum to the 2014 interim guidance on delamanid, with specific recommendations to paediatric MDR-TB patients.

    Based on the assessment of this evidence and recommendations from the expert panel, the WHO now recommends that delamanid may be added to the WHO-recommended longer regimen in children and adolescents
    (6 – 17 years).

  • 2 December 2015

    TB fixed dose combinations (FDCs) for the treatment of TB in children

    In December 2015, WHO and partners introduced child-friendly forms of TB fixed dose combinations (FDCs), in line with WHO dosing recommendations. This is an important step in improving treatment and child survival from TB, and slowing the spread of drug-resistant TB. WHO and partners are providing technical assistance to countries to make the FDCs available widely. As of October 2017, over 60 countries are already procuring the Childhood TB FDCs.