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Kenya becomes the first country to launch a Child-Friendly TB Drug

by Milicent Atieno
Kenya becomes the first country to launch a Child-Friendly TB Drug

Kenya has launched a new formulation of Tuberculosis (TB) drug said to be the friendliest to kids in the world. The traditional drugs leave a sour and bitter taste in children’s mouth. Making administration of the TB drugs to children a daunting task as the kids will try to fight off being given the drugs.

The new drugs formulated in Kenya comes in right doses for children, has some fruit flavors and quickly dissolves in water. Thus the drug can be administered to children with TB in the form of a sweet-tasting solution.

Stats show there are about 155,000 children across some 18 countries that have already placed orders for the new TB formulation. The new medicine will be first rolled out in Kenya before being availed in other countries; that is as per the directives by the TB Alliance campaign group. The group oversaw the development of the new formulation.

Previously, to administer the TB drugs to kids, one had to break or crush the tablets into fine pieces. Sometimes even ground them into a powdery form, and mixed with water. Still, the bitter taste made kids not to want to take it. Hence they had to be force-fed the drugs.

Considering a TB treatment runs for six months, the ordeal the people administering the drugs and the kids themselves underwent was gruesome. That played a part in not completing the full dose of the medication and even death for some patients.

As a TB high burden country, with over 7,000 cases of TB reported among infants and children in 2015, Kenya is aiming at becoming a TB free country. Children under the ages of five stand at a greater risk of developing severe cases of the infection and even death.

The new drug formulation will be administered to the kids based on their weight; any child weighing more than 5kgs can be given the drug. Usually, the TB drug is administered in accordance with the patient’s age.

The World Health Organization (WHO) say there are over one million children worldwide suffering from TB each year. Out of which, some 140,000 die of TB; yet the diseases is not only preventable but also treatable and curable.

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