Perspective from Jeffrey R. Starke, MD
June 17, 2019
2 min read

1 million child-friendly TB courses ordered since 2016

Perspective from Jeffrey R. Starke, MD
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Mel Spigelman 2019
Mel Spigelman

Approximately 1 million treatment courses of new tuberculosis medicines designed for easy administration in children have been ordered by 93 countries since they were first introduced in 2016, according to the nonprofit organization TB Alliance.

“Strategic investments in TB treatment for children have corrected a dire market failure and enabled the rapid, widespread introduction of child-friendly TB medicines around the world,” Mel Spigelman, MD, president and CEO of TB Alliance, told Infectious Diseases in Children.

WHO estimates that 1 million children are diagnosed with TB every year, and more than 230,000 of these children die.

Children with TB undergoing treatment often experience adherence difficulties, treatment failure or death. The regimens are the first to meet WHO guidelines for childhood TB treatment, according to a TB Alliance press release.

A boy in Delhi holds up improved TB medicines for children 
A boy in Delhi holds up the improved TB medicines for children.
Source: John-Michael Maas for TB Alliance

The medicines were first introduced in Kenya, which, along with the other 92 countries procuring the treatment, account for 75% of the estimated global childhood TB burden, according to the release.

“The vast majority of countries that are heavily impacted by TB now have access to child-friendly TB medicines that are in the WHO recommended doses,” Spigelman said. “There is no longer a need to approximate children’s dosing by crushing or splitting bitter-tasting adult pills. They are also dispersible in water and flavored for palatability, which makes it easier for caregivers and parents to administer to children.” – by Joe Gramigna


WHO. Global Tuberculosis Report 2018. Accessed June 17, 2019.

Disclosures: Spigelman is president and CEO of TB Alliance. The company reports funding from Unitaid, Australian Aid, Irish Aid, USAID and UK Aid.