Nairobi, KENYA: Kenya has pioneered the introduction of child friendly tuberculosis TB drugs globally.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi on Tuesday, the Director of Medical Services Dr. Jackson Kioko said previous drugs were difficult to administer and made treatment difficult.
“The current drug is pleasantly flavoured and care givers will not have a hard time when giving treatment to children. Previous drugs used to be crushed and added to the children’s meals which made curing of the disease inefficient,” he said.
The treatments now being introduced are the first to meet the World Health Organization WHO’s guidelines for childhood TB treatment.
Dr. Kioko explained that they are not new drugs but improved formulations that come in the correct doses that required fewer pills.
“Kenya is playing a leading role in the fight against childhood TB by being the first to introduce improved TB medicines for children,” explained Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr Cleopa Mailu in an emailed statement.
Dr. Mailu added that with appropriate medicines it was possible to make rapid progress in finding and treating children with TB to achieve a TB free generation.
“We need to eradicate TB by 2020,” reiterated Dr. Kioko.
“These new treatments won’t have an impact until they reach the children that need them,” said Dr. Cherise Scott, Director of Pediatric Programs, TB Alliance.
“We are proud to partner with the Government of Kenya, the first of many countries, as they work to save lives.” added Dr. Cherise
The Chairman of the African TB Caucus Stephen Mule announced that the drugs would be available for free by the 1st of October.
Mule, who is also the Member of Parliament for Matungulu advised County Executives for Health in every county to join forces with their respective county assemblies to formulate solutions that would improve health standards and eradicate TB as well.
Tuberculosis is a major killer of children.
The (WHO) reports that at least 1 million children suffer from annually and 140,000 children die of this curable and preventable disease.
In 2015, Kenya reported nearly 7,000 cases of TB in infants and children.