Launch of the Childhood TB Roadmap
CDC has long supported the broad and growing coalition leading the way toward zero TB deaths in children. A recent story from one of CDC’s sponsored-programs illustrates that commitment. In Kenya, CDC sponsors a program that engages community volunteers, many of whom are former TB patients, to help patients with medication and serve as a link between the health center and the community.
In one of its slums, an 8-month-old baby girl named Hope was very ill—she was losing weight and her mother, who was also ill, didn’t know what was wrong. The baby was so ill that her neighbors began raising money to allow the mother and child to take one last visit to their home village.
The mother, determined to do everything she could, took baby Hope to the community health center, where she was diagnosed with TB. Through CDC’s program, a community volunteer began visiting the family to make sure Hope was taking and tolerating all of her medications. The community volunteer also recognized that Hope’s mom had the signs and symptoms of TB. After Hope’s mom was diagnosed with TB, she also started on treatment with daily support from the volunteer. Today, baby Hope has gained weight and both she and her mother have been cured of TB and are healthy.
Baby Hope and her mother are two of the more than 200 TB patients who have been a part of the CDC-sponsored community engagement project, which has already led to an improvement in TB treatment success in the area. Baby Hope, and many other children like her, are the reasons the Childhood TB Roadmap is so important. The Roadmap shifts the focus from the challenges to immediate actions that can be taken to accelerate progress against this deadly disease in children.
CDC has partnered with other US Government agencies, international organizations, and ministries of health to find the best ways to use available tools to reach children at-risk for TB. CDC also partners with communities and healthcare workers to improve TB case-finding and patient outcomes.
In Kenya, CDC is looking for the best approach to screening children for TB, such as using simple criteria in a variety of settings to identify which children need further evaluation. They are also evaluating the performance of the new Xpert MTB/RIF® test in diagnosing TB among children using a child-friendly collection of specimens, like urine and stool.
In Uganda, CDC is training clinicians to use the desk-guide for diagnosis and management of childhood TB, which was developed by the Union. Evaluating the use of this guide will increase its effective use in other places: making sure the right tools are in the right hands.
CDC is working to strengthen and develop tools to combat childhood TB. CDC is building coalitions in every community to raise awareness of this problem; integrating TB in child health services; investing in development of child-friendly treatment regimens and diagnostics; and emphasizing the importance of collecting better data to increase understanding this epidemic and how best to address it.
There are a lot of children with TB around the world. The Childhood TB Roadmap can give them a healthy future, just like Baby Hope.