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 (MDR-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 dangerous, requiring multiple medications dosed 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. Of those who do receive treatment, 40% will still die.
The WHO released a directive for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture pediatric formulations of first-line drugs starting in 2016. Despite this development, MDR-TB continue to be problematic. However, creating pediatric formulations of second-line drugs is years away, despite advocacy from the pediatric TB community.