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Kenya introduces new Child-Friendly TB medicines

27 sept 2016 | Under News | Posted by

The TB Alliance and the Ministry of Health of Kenya are pleased to announce that Kenya has become the first country to introduce new specially formulated and adapted paediatric medicines for the treatment of TB. See the text of the TB Alliance press release below. TESS Development Advisors worked with the TB Alliance in the past to support the assessment of paediatric TB markets and strategies required for country uptake.

TB Alliance Press Release
27 September 2016 (Nairobi, Kenya) – TB Alliance is proud to announce the launch of new medicines for childhood tuberculosis (TB) in Kenya, marking the first national roll out of these products. Released in partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Health, UNITAID, and others, these medicines are easier for caregivers to give and for children to take, and are expected to help improve treatment and child survival from TB.

« 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. « Now, with the appropriate treatments, we can make rapid progress in finding and treating children with TB so we can achieve a TB free generation. »

Tuberculosis still remains a major killer of children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 1 million children suffer from TB each year and 140,000 children die of this preventable, treatable, and curable disease. In 2015, Kenya reported nearly 7,000 cases of TB in infants and children, with those under age five at greatest risk of having severe forms of TB and dying from the disease.

Previously, caregivers had to cut or crush multiple, bitter-tasting pills in an attempt to achieve the right doses for children. This made the six-month treatment journey difficult for children and their families, contributing to treatment failure and death from the disease.

The treatments now being introduced are the first to meet WHO guidelines for childhood TB treatment. They are not new drugs but improved formulations that come in the correct doses, require fewer pills, are flavored and dissolve in water.

The development of the medicines was overseen by TB Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization, and was funded by UNITAID and other partners.

« These new treatments will not have an impact until they reach the children that need them,” said Dr. Cherise Scott, Director of Pediatric Programs for TB Alliance. “We are proud to partner with the Government of Kenya, the first of many countries, as they work to translate the potential of these medicines into lives saved. »