Stop TB Partnership

TB in Pregnancy: We Can Do Better for Mothers and Babies

The global health community lags far behind in promptly diagnosing and treating pregnant women with TB, gathering reliable data on TB and pregnancy, and researching drug-resistant treatment options for pregnant women with TB. Nearly one-half million women die of TB annually, worldwide, despite the fact that the disease is treatable and curable, and we don’t know how widespread the problem of TB is, because we lack the data. We can do better.

In December, thousands of experts gathered at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, chaired by Jhpiego’s Senior TB/Infectious Disease/HIV Technical Advisor Stacie C. Stender, to strategize and make progress on health issues including TB in pregnancy.

Stender joined Jhpiego’s Alice Christensen, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Surbhi Modi and the World Health Organization’s Annabel Baddeley, as well as a number of international experts, to coordinate a symposium highlighting the importance of integrating TB services into maternal and child health programs.

For women like Eliza Kayange in Malawi, who was diagnosed with TB in pregnancy, building momentum for better health programs with integrated TB services is critical.

"I was very concerned. I thought I was going to die from this disease, and I was concerned that the babies would die too," recalls Kayange, who was pregnant with twins. "At the health facility, I was told that TB can be cured as long as I take my medication for the whole duration. Now I am healthy. TB can be cured."

Watch this video on TB in pregnancy, which debuted at the Union World Conference on Lung Health, and hear Kayange’s story.