10 November, Geneva, Switzerland – Stop TB Partnership calls on having the month of November as the month to “Speak Up For Children With TB” and asks all partners to join the efforts to increase visibility, action, and funding for TB in children. Children with TB are the quiet victims of the TB airborne pandemic as they are infected by the adults sick with TB (children extremely rarely spread the disease). In 2022, 1.3 million children were sick with TB (representing 12% of all people with TB) and 214000 children died because of TB (representing 16% of all TB deaths).
“TB should not kill anyone but most and foremost should not kill children – TB is curable and preventable, how can we let something like this happen? Ensuring access to proper diagnosis for all children who need it – is a big challenge. Once diagnosed and treated, 90% of children are cured – can we get everyone diagnosed early enough? As November is the month during which World International Children's Day is celebrated in multiple countries, we are calling on all our partners to work towards raising awareness for TB in children every single month of November from now on” - said Dr. Lucica Ditiu – Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership.
Children with drug-resistant TB are in a particularly difficult situation – as their diagnosis and treatment are even more challenging and complicated. In 2018, the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility introduced the Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB) Initiative. As of the close of 2022, more than 100 countries have acquired pediatric treatments for DS-TB and DR-TB, including bedaquiline and delamanid, representing a significant stride in improving care for children with TB
To raise awareness of TB in children, for the entire month of November, the Stop TB Partnership is running public advertisements on 75 buses in New York City for the general public. At Times Square, every 15 seconds a video is running with information on TB in children.
Stop TB Partnership will also run a social media campaign focused on having a generation free of TB. The social media toolkit will be available online on 13 November - this will be shared on all our social media platforms until the end of November.
On Tuesday 14 November from 9:00-10:45 am, in Paris, WHO, in collaboration with its partners, including TB survivors, will launch the third edition of the “Roadmap towards ending TB in children and adolescents" during the first session of the annual meeting of the Stop TB Partnership's Child and Adolescent TB Working Group.
Adding voice to the urgent action that needs to be taken to ensure that children receive the requisite attention in TB response, Stop TB calls on all partners to give priority and focus their messaging and communication on TB in children and suggests that everyone engages in amplifying messages in relation to children during the month of November.
“Yes! We can end TB” – for us but especially for our children and their future!