Government of India to launch pan-India child-friendly TB drug, a first for the country

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) right medicines in the right doses will increase adherence and save more lives. Health Experts say this is an important step in improving treatment and child survival from TB, and slowing the spread of drug resistant TB. Simple TB medicines for children will ease the TB burden on healthcare systems

Government of India to launch pan-India child-friendly TB drug, a first for the country
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In order to improve daily lives of the children, suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) the World Health Organization (WHO) had approved certain guidelines. Adhering to WHOs’ guidelines, to treat TB affected children and to provide children friendly TB treatment, India is set to introduce the first child friendly TB drug across the country.

This child friendly drug tablet, will be available in a fixed dose combination (FDC), with two or more drugs, it has been recently introduced in 5 states, through the governments TB control programme.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Sunil Khaparde, DDG, Ministry of Health and family welfare, and head of TB, division, said, “We are set to launch this drug on the large scale across the country. By the end of November we have target to distribute it across the country. This drug is easily consumable and gets dissolve in water. This will definitely benefit the children who are suffering from TB”.

Dr Khaparde added, “Earlier we used to crush the tablets and then give it to the child, according to his or her weight. Number of times children used to stop medication, as they didn’t like the drug. But, now the new drug has flavour, so children will consume it as it has a good taste”

Until recently, there was no appropriate first-line TB treatment designed for children. But this child friendly TB treatment is a ray of hope for thousands of children across the globe.

Speaking to MyMedicalMantra, Dr Ravi Nanavare, former Medical Superintendent, of Sewri TB Hospital, said, “This FDC, fixed dose combination, would get dissolve in water easily. And if the taste of the drug is good, children will take the medicine properly. This will indeed benefit the patients.”

Dr Yatin Dholakia, secretary of Maharashtra State Anti-TB Association  ” It is a very good move as it will make TB drugs more palatable to children . This will also improve the adherence to treatment.”

WHOs’ fact sheet says

  • 1 million children get affected by TB every year
  • 400 die each year
  • Children represent 10-11% of all TB cases
  • In 2015 1, 70,000 lakhs children died of TB

As of now, this new child friendly TB drug has been introduced in 5 states, by the end of November; this will be distributed across the country. As per government’s estimate, there are about 70000 paediatric TB, cases are in India.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), right medicines in the right doses will increase adherence and save more lives. Health Experts say this is an important step in improving treatment and child survival from TB, and slowing the spread of drug resistant TB.

Simple TB medicines for children eases, the TB burden on healthcare systems. Fewer pills will simplify ordering and storage, and facilitate scale-up of paediatric treatment. Child-friendly medicines improve the daily lives of children and their families struggling with TB. Six months is a long time to take medicine. But the availability of treatment that tastes good and is simple to provide will ease the daily struggles of children, parents, and caregivers alike.