A tuberculosis drug specifically designed to cure the sickness in children has been launched in Kenya. The TB drug for children is a combination of three drugs used to treat tuberculosis in children, it is mixed appropriately and topped with a fruit flavour to make it appealing to children.
Before now there was no specified tuberculosis drug for children. The tuberculosis drugs for adult had to be split into the right dosages for children. Even at that, they were usually bitter and some too difficult for nurses to grind.
The drug was first unveiled at a conference in South Africa in 2015. The production of the TB drug for children was initiated by TB Alliance, a global non-governmental organisation.
Tb is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, and affects a million children every year. In 2014, about 140,000 children died of TB according to the World Health organisation. Also, Kenya recorded 7,000 cases of TB in children and infants last year. However, the global TB death rate has dropped by almost a half between 1990 and 2015, according to WHO.
Although Kenya is the first country to circulate the drug, other countries are expected to follow suit over the next three years. According to Dr Cherise Scott from the TB Alliance, over 20 countries have expressed their desire to make use of this drug in dealing with tuberculosis for children.
The new pill will be more effective because the drugs have been mixed in the right proportions that are suitable for children
The drugs will begin rolling out for free on October 1.
Dr Enos Masini of the Ministry of Health told VOA:
“We’ve had challenges in childhood TB control. Access to this formulation for our children is going to be possible.”
He also added:
“We are going to ensure that more children who are diagnosed to have TB are able to access them, are able to be initiated on this new formulation,”