EGPAF, in partnership with Unitaid, Kenya National TB program, and the Turkana and Homa Bay county governments launch a project to scale up diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in children
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Lodwar, Kenya—October 17, 2018—The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) today launched a project to curb childhood illness and death from tuberculosis (TB).
The four-year project, Catalyzing Pediatric Tuberculosis Innovation (CaP TB), is funded by Unitaid and is being implemented by EGPAF in Turkana and Homa Bay counties. The initiative aims to identify 1,300 pediatric TB cases in Kenya and greatly increase the number of children who receive appropriate treatment and prevention.
TB is a preventable and curable disease, yet it is the fourth-leading cause of death in Kenya and a dangerous opportunistic infection for people living with HIV. Many children with active TB are believed to be going undiagnosed; according to projections, about 15 percent of all Kenya’s diagnosed TB cases should be among children, but children accounted for only nine percent of the country’s reported cases.
TB is particularly difficult to diagnose in children because many do not have access to the most effective tests. Often, children with TB will go undiagnosed and be ineffectively treated for many other ailments. Worse, if exposed, children are more likely to develop active TB, and are at higher risk of death than adults. This is especially true for children with compromised immune systems due to young age, malnutrition, or HIV infection.
Until recently, the lack of adequate pediatric medicines made treatment of children a complex process. Increasing the availability of newly developed child-friendly drug formulations will be a critical component to achieving these prevention and treatment goals.
Through the CaP TB project, EGPAF will build on its existing work and partnerships with the government and local organizations to increase access to innovative diagnostic technology and new child-friendly formulations.
“As defenders of children’s health, we at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation are determined to help find and implement innovative and effective solutions to eliminate the impact of the TB epidemic on children and their families,” Dr. Eliud Mwangi, Country Director for EGPAF in Kenya, said.
“Seven in ten children with TB worldwide go undiagnosed or unreported. We urgently need to reach more children who are suffering from TB by using child-friendly, innovative models of care. The Unitaid-funded CaP TB project aims to meet this goal,” said Lelio Marmora, Unitaid’s executive director.
EGPAF will implement the project in Homa Bay and Turkana, starting with 30 high-volume facilities, and expand to 50 facilities in the third and fourth year of the project.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 27 million pregnant women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. Founded in 1988, EGPAF today supports activities in 19 countries and over 5,000 sites to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.
Unitaid is an international organization that invests in new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS and co-infections, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, affordably and effectively. Unitaid’s work paves the way for large-scale introduction of health products by funding organizations such as the Global Fund, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and national governments. To learn more, visit www.unitaid.org.