Zimbabwe has scaled up efforts to end Paediatric Tuberculosis following the official launch of Catalyzing Pediatric Tuberculosis Innovation (CaP TB), a project that seeks to create demand for TB services among children.
Speaking at the (CaP TB) launch, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) (CaP TB) Project leader, Dr Tichaona Nyamundaya said the goal of the project is to come up with innovative ways and to provide their expertise in the fight against Pediatric TB.
“The goal of the project is to catalyze and scale up innovative models of care, new drugs and diagnostics as well as build evidence for these innovations,
“To catalyze childhood TB screening, the project will train community based health workers to screen children for TB using standardized tools, presumed cases of TB will either be referred to the nearest health facility and where referral is unlikely to be completed, community health worker will collect sputum at community level and submit the specimen to he facility,
“The project will also work closely with the Ministry of Education’s school health program and raise awareness and create demand for childhood TB services, school health masters will be trained to screen children and collect specimens for testing,” explained Nyamundaya.
According to Nyamundaya, the project will optimize integration of TB screening at all entry points where children will access health services.
Currently, clinical diagnosis of TB is only being done by doctors and clinical officers and the project is capacitating nurses to make diagnosis of TB in children who are gene Xpert negative.
EGPAF Country Director, Dr Agnes Mahomva said the project will bring hope of reducing illnesses and deaths due to the infection among children.
“TB in children is a race against time, children with TB must be identified quickly and put on treatment before they become ill. Fortunately, there are innovative diagnostics, treatments and models of care that can help improve this difficult situation,
“At EGPAF we are determined to help find and implement innovative effective solutions, I am delighted that this project brings in reducing childhood illnesses and deaths due to TB, with funding from Unitaid, the project will quicken diagnosis and treatment of TB in Children and expand access to critical new products in the fight against Childhood TB,” said Mahomva.
Health and Child Care minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa concurred with the above saying the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to creating a conducive policy and regulatory environment for pediatric TB through sustaining and scaling up of innovative models of pediatric TB care and treatment.