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September 28, 2016

Kenya launches world’s first child-friendly TB medicines

Kenya has launched the world's first drug specifically designed to treat tuberculosis (TB) in children.

By Srivari Aishwarya

Kenya has launched the world's first drug specifically designed to treat tuberculosis (TB) in children.

The launch follows a recent pre-qualification by the World Health Organisation to use improved child-friendly medicines for TB treatment in children.

The latest flavoured medicines must be dissolved in water before being administered to children, Kenya Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Medical Services director Dr Jackson Kioko said: “Until recently, the child TB treatment regimen comprised of multiple pills of many formulations. This regimen was complex to use for both Health Care Workers and caregivers.

“The tablets were big and difficult for the children to swallow hence had to be crushed and sometimes mixed with food.

"This resulted in inaccurate dosing and poor adherence.”

The development of the medicines was overseen by international not-for-profit organisation TB Alliance and was backed by funding from UNITAID and other partners.

TB Alliance paediatric programmes director Dr Cherise Scott said: “These new treatments won’t 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 medicines into lives saved."

“We are proud to partner with the Government of Kenya, the first of many countries, as they work to translate the potential of these medicines into lives saved.’’

Children diagnosed with TB will given the improved child-friendly medicines free of charge at all public facilities, starting from October this year.

According to the ministry, nearly one million children become ill with TB every year worldwide, with 140,000 losing their lives.

Nearly 7,000 infants and children in Kenya were diagnosed with TB in 2015.


Image: Kenya launched new TB drug designed for children. Photo: courtesy of Kenyan Ministry of Health.

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