Kenya has intensified its fight against tuberculosis.
From October 1, child-friendly medicines will be introduced in the country, making Kenya the first in the world to do so.
Some 155,000 children with TB are set to benefit across 18 countries that have already ordered the new medicines and are preparing to roll them out.
The campaign group, TB Alliance, oversaw their development. Its Director for Pediatric Programs, Cherise Scott said,
“We know that drug resistant TB is a huge problem and that is why organizations like the TB alliance are developing new drugs and new regimens to fight drug resistance and we want to make sure that these products get into the hands and are developed for children as well as we move forward.”
WHO data shows, TB killed 140,000 children and 1.37 million adults in 2014 and infected a further one million children.
The improved formulations come in the correct doses for children, are fruit-flavored and dissolve in water, making them easier for children to take.
“These formulations were approved by WHO (World Health Organization) for use late last year and as a country we were actually expectantly waiting for them because we knew the challenges that we were going through with our children, and so when the announcement was made we got together as a country together with our stakeholders and the commodity team, we looked at our pipelines, we looked at registering these commodities in the country, we got the ball rolling early this year, and we said, no later than the first of October every child or treatment for TB should be able to access the best that there is”, said Doctor Immaculate Kathure, Child TB Services Coordinator of the Kenya National TB Program
The child-friendly drugs are the first products to meet the WHO’s 2010 guidelines for childhood TB treatment, with funding from International Drug Purchasing Facility, UNITAID, which is hosted by the WHO.