Childhood Tuberculosis

The Child and Adolescent TB Centre of Excellence

The Union’s Child and Adolescent Tuberculosis (TB) Centre of Excellence is a virtual network of tuberculosis (TB) professionals and organisations in the Africa region, providing a community of learning and practice for childhood and adolescent TB. This network, coordinated by The Union’s Uganda Office in collaboration with the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers technical leadership, capacity building and funding opportunities, and promotes collaboration across the region.

Child TB is a high priority activity for The Union. An estimated 239,000 children die every year from TB. Around one million children developed TB in 2017, but less than half of these children received a diagnosis or treatment. TB is both treatable and curable, but 90 percent of children who die from TB did not receive the standard treatment that could have saved their lives. Adolescents with TB are also neglected, despite being a high-risk age group for developing TB which is often highly infectious, and having age-specific challenges to access diagnosis and care.

The Union has provided global leadership to address the neglected needs of child and adolescent TB for more than a decade, and has been at the forefront of activities that have greatly increased attention to child TB over the last five years.

There is increased momentum in the global fight against TB with ambitious targets, focused on prevention and on case finding among vulnerable populations including children, set by the Sustainable Development Goals, the WHO End TB strategy and the Global Plan to End TB as well as the first UN High Level Meeting on TB in 2018.

To achieve these targets, sustained advocacy and scientific expertise will be needed to ensure that the rights of children and adolescents are protected and that their specific needs are addressed in the political, policy and research agenda while ensuring that they receive high-quality, integrated care.

The Child and Adolescent TB Centre of Excellence was created based on the need to develop, strengthen and support regional networks for child TB, especially in the sub-Saharan African region, which has a high burden of child and adolescent TB and HIV and a high TB-related mortality.

The stakeholder meeting being held this week in Kampala, Uganda will discuss the various roles and activities for the Centre of Excellence to provide regional support in capacity building and evidence base for programmes to implement and strengthen the detection, management and prevention of TB in children and adolescents to achieve the post-2015 End TB Strategy targets and the UN HLM targets.

Read The Union’s report: Silent Epidemic: A Call to Action Against Child Tuberculosis

Childhood TB online course

The Union launched an interactive online course, Childhood TB for Healthcare Workers, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2015. The six-module curriculum covers how to diagnose, treat and prevent childhood TB, including how to perform contact screening. The modules are interactive and ask participants to make decisions about patient care in various settings through case examples. 

The self-paced course, which takes six to eight hours to complete, is designed for healthcare workers at the secondary and primary level of the healthcare system. The content is based on the WHO’s 2014 Guidance for national tuberculosis programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children, as well as The Union's Desk guide for diagnosis and management of TB in children, and focuses on the clinical management of childhood TB. One full module is dedicated to TB prevention, focusing on household contact screening and provision of preventive therapy.

Find more details or register for the course.