Child TB

Child TB success rates improve in Uganda thanks to Union model

This child's mother, Esther, is living with HIV and was diagnosed with TB when she was pregnant. She and her son are being treated through The Union's DETECT Child TB project

The Union’s DETECT Child TB project, which created a decentralised model of care for diagnosing and treating children with TB, continued to show that children do not need to die from this curable and preventable disease.

I envisage a future where this very innovative decentralisation of child TB management can be scaled up nationally and also adapted for all resource-limited settings globally. It’s a big aim but I don’t see any other option.

John Paul Dongo
DETECT Child TB Project Coordinator

The DETECT Child TB model uses online training and a mobile smartphone app to educate and empower frontline health workers to provide TB screening at the community level, with volunteers identifying potential people with TB based on symptoms. Strengthening diagnosis of child TB at primary and secondary care levels with simple symptom-based screening for child TB household contacts yielded a major increase in detection and treatment of child TB.

Where children made up nine percent of all TB notifications in Uganda before DETECT Child TB, they represented 16 percent of people with TB diagnosed during the initiative, with both test districts more than doubling their total number of child TB diagnoses over this period. The initiative achieved 95 percent success in treating children diagnosed with TB, up from 65 percent, and 72 percent of at-risk children received preventive treatment with isoniazid, up from less than five percent previously. Following implementation, case detection was successfully decentralised with the majority of children with TB diagnosed in secondary and primary levels of care.

DETECT Child TB was funded through April 2017 by the ELMA Foundation and an anonymous donation. The project will continue into 2018 thanks to a generous personal donation from Professors Jeffrey Starke and Joan Shook.

Read about four-year-old Enoch and others affected by the DETECT Child TB project.

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