22 March 2012 - New York, NY - The Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis today launched Being Brave: Stories of Children with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis today. This collection documents the devastating impact of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) on children.
Being Brave: Stories of Children with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis highlights 15 children in seven countries to illustrate the challenges of fighting DR-TB in children, and the need for urgent action. Some stories show that without prompt diagnosis and treatment, children die from DR-TB.
Other stories, like that of 15-year-old Oyella Mercy from Uganda, provide hope. After receiving an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for DR-TB, Oyella Mercy exclaims, "Now I am feeling a little good. I’m going to school - I like learning. When the treatment is finished in May, I’ll feel happy, I’ll play with my friends and I’ll dance, because I’ll be cured." Oyella Mercy’s case and several others demonstrate that DR-TB in children is curable with access to quality medical services.
Being Brave: Stories of Children with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis documents, however, that even in successful cases, diagnosis and treatment of DR-TB in children is lengthy and difficult. Diagnostic tools are often inaccurate and can take months to determine resistance. Without pediatric formulations of most drugs, treatment is difficult to administer. Children and their caregivers struggle with treatment: "I wish I didn’t have to take so many medications, they make me feel weak and nauseous," eleven-year-old Yousra from Pakistan says. The need for accelerated research to improve vaccines, diagnostics and drugs to prevent, detect and treat DR-TB in children is clear.
The Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis is a global partnership that aims to develop and deploy evidence-based strategies to prevent child deaths from drug-resistant tuberculosis.