The annual meeting of the Child and Adolescent TB Working Group took place on the Webex platform on Friday, 16 October 2020. The meeting was open to all members of the working group representing a broad range of stakeholders including paediatricians, NTP managers and childhood TB focal points in the NTP, MCH representatives, technical and financial partners, community TB representatives and WHO staff from headquarters, regional and country offices. The main purpose was to maintain a vibrant child and adolescent TB community, share country experiences in scaling up the response to child and adolescent TB and to discuss next steps to move the agenda forward. A total of 260 registrations were received, and 192 participants attended the meeting. The meeting was divided into two sessions of 2.5 hours each.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, the Director of the WHO Global TB Programme, who highlighted recent developments in data on child and adolescent TB, paediatric TB drug optimization and the process of updating the guidelines on the management of TB in children and adolescents. Farhana Amanullah gave the report from the chair on the activities of the working group since the last meeting in October 2019. Annemieke Brands and Sabine Verkuijl from the secretariat provided an update on new WHO policy recommendations relevant to children and progress towards UNGA HLM on TB targets, including an overview of new data included in the Global tuberculosis report 2020.

Karen du Preez from the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University presented on an interdisciplinary and multi-level approach to estimate the disease burden and outcomes of childhood tuberculous meningitis (TBM). The main findings of the SHINE trial (Shorter Treatment for Minimal Tuberculosis in Children), a phase III randomised open trial comparing 4 versus 6 months treatment in children (+/- HIV) with smear-negative non-severe TB in Africa and India, were presented by Aarti Avinash Kinikar and Priyanka Raichur. This was followed by an update on paediatric TB prevention trials by Anneke Hesseling. James Seddon then presented a selection of interesting peer-reviewed articles.

In the second part of the meeting, Edine Tiemersma and Endale Mengesha Goshu shared country experiences with the implementation of the Simple One Step stool processing method for Xpert MTB/RIF from Ethiopia and Vietnam. After this, Chishala Chabala presented on emerging experiences with diagnostic approaches in children with HIV, severe pneumonia and malnutrition from the TB-Speed project. Laura Olbrich then presented on T-cell marker-based assays for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in children and adults.

The next session focused on systematic reviews on the risk of TB after exposure and on TB screening in children, with presentations by Leo Martinez and Bryan Vonasek. The last session covered the impact of COVID-19 on child and adolescent TB services, with experiences from Ghana by Anthony Enimil and from the Americas by Celia Martinez. Unfortunately, Rahab Mwaniki could not connect to present on community perspectives on COVID and TB, but her presentation is available on the website.

In the closing session, the Secretariat acknowledged the continuing financial support from USAID through UNOPS.

Meeting ReportMeeting Recording