A SUMMARY REPORT on preventing tuberculosis (TB) in children was released by Citizen News Service (CNS, www.citizen-news.org) and other partners who are conducting online consultation and key informant interviews on childhood TB in lead up to the World TB Day (24 March). The theme of World TB Day 2012 is childhood TB. This summary report is based upon online consultations and key informant interviews with noted experts and more importantly – parents and guardians of children with TB.
KEY ISSUES THAT THIS NEW SUMMARY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS:
If people who have successfully completed TB treatment are engaged as EQUAL PARTNERS WITH DIGNITY in TB control programmes at all levels, then TB programme performance will improve significantly. The Patients Charter for TB Care, which is a part of Global Stop TB Strategy and Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), must be implemented and rolled out. Social protection of all children is important because denying that puts them at risk of preventable diseases such as TB.
Risk factors for childhood TB must be addressed at a war footing level. Parents and other house inmates who smoke must go for tobacco cessation and quit tobacco use as second-hand tobacco smoke puts their children at risk of TB. Malnutrition was reported as the biggest risk factor for childhood TB and it is imperative for the state to ensure proper nutrition and food security for all children. Over-crowding, lack of hygiene, no exclusive breastfeeding, type 1 diabetes, HIV, are some of the other risk factors that increase chances for a child to develop active TB disease.
Infection control in healthcare settings and community/ household settings must be maintained. Proper cross-ventilation, cough hygiene, avoiding crowds in OPDs, wearing masks, proper waste hospital disposal etc were some of the measures recommended.
“Curing adult TB to prevent childhood TB” was echoed by many experts. So it is important to confirm diagnosis of TB patients as early as possible and treat them successful. This will reduce childhood TB too. BCG vaccine works against some serious forms of TB but doesn't provide 100% protection against TB. We need effective vaccines.
Children especially those in confinement must get special attention to their healthcare needs. Saaksham Foundation points out that TB is one of the commonest infections children in confinement contracts. Getting TB is not a part of confinement.
Broad based health literacy and treatment literacy related to TB continues to be one of the biggest challenge confronting health systems in UP.
More collaborative and multi-sectoral programmes beyond TB-HIV like those for TB and diabetes co-morbidity, TB and malnutrition, among others, should be facilitated.
Training, retraining and supervision (support) of all healthcare and community workers should also be ensured.
Programmes should address TB related stigma as it continues to be a BARRIER to existing services.
Full summary report can be downloaded from: www.citizen-news.org