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 2013 revealed that up to 80 000 children die from TB each year and children account for over 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.
WHO and the Union release new training toolkit to combat childhood TB
GENEVA | 19 SEPTEMBER 2014 -- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Union today released a training toolkit to combat childhood tuberculosis (TB). The toolkit focuses on building the capacity of health care workers at the primary and secondary level to address and manage TB in children.
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
- Guidance for national tuberculosis programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children. Second edition
- Roadmap for Childhood TB: Toward Zero Deaths
- View the Roadmap online in flipbook format
Factsheet: Combating tuberculosis in children
- Guidelines for intensified tuberculosis case-finding and isoniazid preventive therapy for people living with HIV in resource-constrained settings
- Guidance for national tuberculosis programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children [pdf 325kb]
- Russian [pdf 678kb]
- Ethambutol efficacy and toxicity: literature review and recommendations for daily and intermittent dosage in children [pdf 1.5Mb]