USAID TB CARE II Hosts Workshop on Childhood Drug-Resistant TB in Bangladesh

The USAID TB CARE II Project hosted a workshop ultimately aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric, or childhood, drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in Bangladesh. Held last week, the workshop was a joint activity with the Sentinel Project, a global partnership of experts and stakeholders focused on combating the disease and improving the quality of TB services provided to children in the country.

Significance of Pediatric TB

Children with TB are more susceptible to disease and death than adults. Both TB and DR-TB are curable in children if diagnosed and treated promptly and correctly. However, because a DR-TB diagnosis requires isolating the TB bacteria— often difficult in children—it is a challenge to reach a diagnosis even in a child who is very sick. Raising awareness and developing health providers' capacities to quickly and accurately identify, diagnose, and treat the disease can eventually lead to achieving zero tuberculosis deaths in the future.

Why Bangladesh?

According to the USAID TB CARE II website, Bangladesh ranks sixth among the 22 highest burden TB countries in the world, with an estimated 70,000 people dying from the disease every year. Bangladesh's National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) was notified of 160,735 TB cases in 2009, and while there is no estimate on the prevalence of childhood TB, it is believed it is severely underdiagnosed. Furthermore, the World Health Organization estimates that drug-resistant TB is an emerging threat in the country.

TB CARE II in Bangladesh

The USAID TB CARE II project is supporting the NTP's goal of reducing morbidity, mortality, and transmission of TB until the disease is no longer a national public health issue. The project focuses on strengthening systems of care throughout Bangladesh to tackle both DR-TB, including decentralizing treatment to increase the availability of care in more communities, and pediatric TB, by working with counterparts in the Ministry of Health to develop the first National Guidelines for the Management of Tuberculosis in Children and training health providers at all levels to diagnose and treat childhood TB. With the help of partners at all levels, important successes have been made in both areas.

To learn more about pediatric tuberculosis, please read TB CARE II's technical brief "Tackling TB among Children."

Date 
July 26, 2013
Authors 
Alisha Smith-Arthur, URC Associate Director, Project Support Team, and Pisanu Patchimanon, URC Communications Intern
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