Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care last Friday launched the Catalysing Paediatric TB project, which is set to scale up diagnosis and treatment of TB in children.
It will be the first programme in the country to target children as existing ones deal mainly with adults.
Dubbed the CaP TB, the project will be piloted in 20 sites countrywide during the first two years and additional 30 sites in the last two years.
Ministry of Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji said the the programme was a very welcome development as it addressed TB in children.
“TB in children is often missed or overlooked due to difficulties surrounding diagnosis. Many programmes to combat TB have often focused on adults and little has been done for children despite the fact that children are living in the same homes with the adult TB patients,” said Dr Gwinji.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to creating a conducive policy and regulatory environment for paediatric TB and sustain the project to scale up diagnosis and treatment of TB in children.”
The CaP TB programme will be running over the next four years and similar programmes will be rolled out in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Lesotho and India.
The Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) Country Director Dr Agnes Mahomva said the CaP TB project seeks to bring about improved TB care including innovative diagnostics and treatments for both active and latent TB patients. “By decentralising and integrating TB care into the wider healthcare system, we are more likely to find children with TB early and be able to save their lives.
“This project will also protect children from one of the most threatening opportunistic infections a child with a compromised immune system can face, increase access to new child-friendly drugs for TB treatment for active and latent TB. It will also introduce and increase access to new diagnostic technology that provides more accurate diagnosis in children” she said.