A targets framework: Dismantling the invisibility trap for children with drug-resistant tuberculosis.


Becerra MC, Swaminathan S.


Journal of Public Health Policy; 2014; 35; 425-454.


Abstract : Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infectious disease that is both preventable and curable, yet it kills more than a million people every year. Children are highly vulnerable, but often invisible casualties. Drug-resistant forms of TB are on the rise globally, and children are as vulnerable as adults but less likely to be counted as cases of drug-resistant disease if they become sick. Four factors make children with drug-resistant TB ‘invisible': first, the nature of the disease in children; second, deficiencies in existing diagnostic tools; third, overreliance on these tools; and fourth, our collective failure to deploy one effective tool for finding and treating children – contact investigation . We describe a nascent science-advocacy network – the Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis – whose goal is to end child deaths from this disease. Provisional annual targets, focused on children exposed at home to multidrug-resistant TB, to be updated every year, constitute a framework to focus attention and collective actions at the community, national, and global levels. The targets in two age groups, under 5 and 5–14 years old, tell us the number of: (i) children who require complete evaluation for TB disease and infection; (ii) children who require treatment for TB disease; and (iii) children who would benefit from preventive therapy.


Keywords : pediatric; contact investigation; prevention; monitoring; MDR-TB




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