Some 400 children die needlessly from TB, but a new development in medication for children hopes to change that.

In 2010, the World Health Organisation set dosage guidelines for treating children with tuberculosis. Up until now, however, there hasn’t been an appropriate child-friendly treatment available.

Now, the TB Alliance and its partners have announced the availability of correctly dosed medications that “will improve treatment for children everywhere”.

Speaking ahead of the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of TB Alliance, an international non-profit organization, said: “This is an important step toward ending the neglect that has characterized the care of children with TB for far too long.”

The drugs are not new, but are improved formulations that are dissolvable and flavored. They are simple for providers and parents to administer, and easy for children to take.

According to the WHO, at least 1 million children become ill with TB each year and 140 000 children die of as a result.

Mario Raviglione, director of the Global TB Programme at WHO, said: “The new fixed-dose formulations for children will offer hope for the 400 children who needlessly die of TB each day. Urgent action is needed to ensure these medicines reach those in need and rapidly improve child survival from TB.”

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