Towards zero TB deaths among children and adolescents in the WHO European Region

WHO

Participants from over 30 Member States of the Region along with technical partners and experts mobilized efforts to move towards achieving zero tuberculosis (TB) deaths among children and adolescents in a workshop organized by WHO.

The event on child and adolescent TB held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 4–5 December 2017 generated great momentum. In line with WHO recommendations outlined in the global End TB Strategy and the TB action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020, the participants drafted a set of priorities to address child and adolescent TB at the country level. They also defined next steps for including child and adolescent TB in national strategic plans.

One of the priorities of the regional action plan is to address the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB in children and adolescents, which has been neglected over the years.

To meet the goal of zero TB deaths described in the Roadmap for childhood TB: towards zero deaths, it is critical that child and adolescent TB are prioritized in national health strategies, plans and budgets. It is also key that they are addressed in an integrated way within national health systems – for example, in primary health care services, and in paediatric and mother-and-child health initiatives and services. This approach would improve current clinical practices for prevention, which often lead to unnecessary hospitalizations that keep children and adolescents away from their families.

TB in children and adolescents can be treated, and adequate preventive therapy can be highly effective in children and adolescents exposed to TB.