TUBERCULOSIS (TB) is a huge burden for children, says Dr William Lagani, the
Health Department’s manger for family health services.
He told the symposium that in 10 provincial hospitals last year there were a total of 2455
children admitted with tuberculosis, with 268 known deaths, and a case fatality
rate of 10.9 percent.
Dr Lagani said childhood TB reflected high the transmission rate of TB in the community, the impact of HIV epidemic on TB cases and urban poverty.
Pulmonary TB and TB meningitis contribute substantially to high rates of child mortality, malnutrition and impaired neurological and cognitive development.
Progress in child TB will require better links between the National TB program and child
He said suggested some measures for that were needed to address TB burden. He said there was a need for a Health Department policy of keeping patients in hospital for the full duration of their intensive phase treatment whenever feasible.
Anther measure was to have TB Outreach
nurses follow patients from hospital wards to home and supervise their care, and
ensuring TB drug was available in all health centres.
Dr Lagani also suggested that in all adult TB clinics a nurse screens all exposed children
and starts isoniasid preventative therapy if the child does not have symptoms of
He called for the training of health workers on child TB management, through the hospital care for children course, ensuring the availability of tuberculin solution in hospitals, and introduction of GeneX-pert testing in more provincial hospitals
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