Tanzania launches new TB medicine formulation for children

Dar es Salaam, 20 March 2018: The introduction of pediatric fixed-dose combination (FDC) treatment for Tuberculosis (TB) offers the opportunity to improve treatment outcome and child survival in Tanzania. The FDC does not contain new drugs but rather improved formulation of currently used medicines recommended by WHO for first line TB treatment.

Tanzania is among the top ten countries with the highest burden of TB globally, the annual incidence of TB in children less than 15 years is estimated at 9,000 cases with only 6,407 children being reached by health system in 2016. For years, the practices for TB treatment in children involved cut and/or crush of adult formulation which posed a risk of under-dosage or over-dosage and hence limiting treatment success rates in children.

In the official ceremony to mark the introduction of this new formulation, the Minister of Health, Hon Ummy Mwalimu could not hide her happiness for this milestone by thanking partners and all stakeholders for the commitment, collaboration and support that resulted to this introduction. Moreover, she expresses her belief that the correct TB doses will enhance TB adherence; and the friendly-nature of the formulation will improve lives of children, their families and communities. The ceremony which draws a number of stakeholders and media houses also witnessed a 3-year old TB patient taking the new drug in front of the whole audience. The patient was quite comfortable with taking the drug which was first dissolved in water and reported to taste like juice.

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