Strawberry-flavoured medicines combat TB

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Woman suffering from Tuberculosis holds her baby, who suffers from TB and malnutrition, in a hospital in Minakaman
A woman suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) holds her baby, who suffers from TB and malnutrition, in a hospital in Minakaman, Lakes State, June 26, 2014. Reuters

Strawberry-flavoured and raspberry-flavoured soluble, child-sized doses of tuberculosis (TB) medications will be available in 2016, as stated during the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health on Dec 2. Experts believe that this will significantly impact how TB cases are managed in children.

In 2014, 140,000 children died due to TB, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, the children infected have been given adult medicines, which are usually given in imprecise dosages. Apart from that, the medicines also taste bitter, which is why children are less likely to take them.

Mel Spigelman, chief executive officer of the TB Alliance, provided details on the new TB medication. "The child is really just drinking a fruit-flavored drink," he said, as quoted by Fox News Channel. "It will make it so much easier for a child and a parent or caregiver to make sure the child takes the treatment and takes it religiously for the full time."

In 2013, the Australian Department of Health reported 1,263 TB cases. Children below the age of 15 contributed to 4 percent of all TB cases in the country.

New cases amounting to 400,000 in total are diagnosed in South Africa, making the country with the highest TB rate. WHO said that two-thirds of the patients also have HIV.

"The availability of correctly dosed medications will improve treatment for children everywhere‚" Spigelman said. "This is an important step towards ending the neglect that has characterised the care of children with TB for far too long."

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