Unitaid Funds Plan to Prevent TB in Kenyan Children

August 8, 2022

Kenyan children are set to benefit from a new agreement that will introduce a new preventative drug for Tuberculosis in children.

The new plan was funded by Unitaid, an international organization that addresses global pandemics, including diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria. In addition, the agreement will reduce the cost of therapy since it will introduce a new manufacturer of genetics.

This preventive TB treatment was introduced in Kenya at the tail-end of 2021 and it entails two drugs; isoniazid and rifapentine.

While the new drug lowered the pill burden from 9 to 3 pills each week for adults, it overlooked children since there was no rightful formulation for our little ones. Its intake involved taking it wholly, which was limiting its use, especially in children. In return, this factor limited its use in preventing Tuberculosis in children.

With this, last week, the plan publicized that Unitaid and MedAccess are working to make the TB preventive tablets cheaper and introduce a 2nd generic manufacturer.

In recent years, we have come a long way towards improving access, at an affordable cost, to tuberculosis-prevention treatments that are shorter and easier to take, but supply has remained a constraint,” stated WHO global TB Programme member Dr.Matteo Zignol.

According to them, the new plan will help them prevent Tuberculosis among people by matching supply with demand in the eligible countries. Preventing TB will be a huge step toward eradicating the deadly disease.

In addition, the therapy works by treating latent TB, which is a form of Tuberculosis where individuals depict no symptoms. This poses a threat since patients often do not realize that they are infected. Latent TB is also non-contagious.

Yet, if not treated, five to ten people develop active TB which has symptoms and is highly communicable.

People with Latent TB infection pose a great threat in the community as they are the breeding ground for the TB epidemic. TB preventive therapy is offered to individuals considered at risk of developing TB disease to reduce that risk,” said the Kenya Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

Unitaid will fund $20 million through IMPAACT4TB Consortium toward research that will provide evidence that children and pregnant women. It will include those living with HIV/AIDS plus household contacts that have access to the most recent TB prevention regimens.

Source; The Star.


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