The growing burden of childhood tuberculosis (TB) in Africa should be addressed as a matter of urgency through investments in robust surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and care, a health expert said Saturday during the World Children’s Day.
Lucica Ditiu, Executive director of Stop TB Partnership, an international health lobby, noted the bacterial lung disease has taken a heavier toll on African children amid poverty, fragile health systems and pandemic-related disruptions.
A large percentage of African children are succumbing to tuberculosis hence the need to ensure they are diagnosed and placed on life-long treatment on time,” said Ditiu during a virtual interview with Xinhua.
According to Ditiu, other vulnerabilities that have exposed African children to the risk of dying from tuberculosis include poor nutrition, environmental pollution and inadequate policy attention.
She said HIV/AIDS had also escalated tuberculosis-related deaths among children in the Sub-Saharan African region, noting that placing them on life-saving drugs will help avert new mortalities.
According to Ditiu, tuberculosis accounts for 18 percent of infant mortalities in Africa, while 15 percent of these deaths were among minors infected with HIV.