CHAMPS Points the Way to a Tuberculosis Free World

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CHAMPS Points the Way to a Tuberculosis Free World

Accurate data on TB infection in children provides a path to ending this global epidemic.

March 24, 2018

Mother and child wait to be treated at a hospital in Mozambique

Mother and baby wait to be treated at a hospital in Mozambique. Children under the age of two are especially vulnerable to contracting TB, but CHAMPS’ data on under-five mortality will help public health leaders protect and treat this vulnerable population.

 

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most urgent global health challenges in Africa and Asia, where CHAMPS works. It is the ninth highest cause of death worldwide, and presents a special threat to young children, especially children under the age of two, and children suffering from malnutrition or a compromised immune system. The World Health Organization’s 2016 Global TB Report estimates that one million children (<15 years) currently suffer from TB worldwide and that more than 210,000 die from the disease each year.

 

These estimates are considered by many experts to be too low. Even though TB is a serious threat, it often goes unrecognized due to non-specific symptoms and its difficulty to diagnose in children. If a child dies from TB without proper diagnosis, inaccurate conclusions about the cause of death are drawn, which results in underreporting of TB.

 

In an interview with Public Radio International Jeffrey Starke, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas said, “It’s a terrible underestimation,” adding, “kids under two are at the highest risk of developing the disease.”

Lab technician in Mozambique.

CHAMPS staff in Mozambique work to generate timely, and highly-accurate child mortality data that help national leaders understand TB and other threats to children’s health.

 

The underdiagnoses of TB, especially in young children, and the underrepresentation of the disease as a cause of child mortality, prevents public health leaders from taking targeted action to stop the spread of TB. This is an issue that CHAMPS is working to address through the generation of high-quality data that accurately represents the causes of child mortality, including TB, in CHAMPS countries. CHAMPS data will allow public health leaders and decision makers to pin-point areas of need and take action to stop the spread of TB and other infectious diseases.

 

The CHAMPS network is working toward a world without TB and other preventable diseases: a world where all children can survive and thrive.