Pediatric tuberculosis is a top ten cause of childhood mortality.
No child should die of a preventable and curable disease.
Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that is both curable and preventable. Despite this, a third of the world's population is infected with TB and 75,000 children die from it every year. It is considered the prototypical disease of poverty, exacerbated by poor nutritional status, crowded living conditions, and inadequate health care.
Multi-drug resistant TB is a specific form of the disease which has become resistant to first-line drugs, often as a result of inadequate or interrupted treatment. MDR-TB treatment is incredibly complex and toxic, requiring multiple medications all given based on the weight of the patient. Treatment can also be up to 1,000 times as expensive as general TB treatment in some regions, making it unaccessible to many patients. Of those who do receive treatment, 40% will still die.
The WHO only recently released a directive for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture pediatric formulations of first-line drugs starting in 2016. Despite this incredible development, multi-drug resistant strains of pediatric tuberculosis (or MDR-TB) continue to be problematic. Creating pediatric formulations of second-line drugs and beyond is not on any international agendas, and pediatric MDR-TB continues to be neglected even though it is a much more difficult, dangerous, and complicated version of the disease.