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Every day, about four hundred children die from tuberculosis world-wide. Mozambique is classified as one of the countries with a high tuberculosis burden, with a rate of around 160,000 new cases a year. Of this number, more than twenty thousand are children.
Tuberculosis in children and adolescents causes the same symptoms as in adults, leading to fever, tiredness, lack of appetite and coughing for more than three weeks. Generally, it takes a few months to diagnose the disease, as it can be confused with others, and tuberculosis can be pulmonary or extra-pulmonary, affecting other organs of the child.
In the first nine months of this year, of the 63,790 patients diagnosed with tuberculosis in the country, 8,200 were children. That is why the Ministry of Health has launched a new treatment regime for tuberculosis in children, called “combined fixed doses”, which will be available in all national hospitals.
For a long time therapy in this age group was more difficult because of the need to divide and crush a series of tablets, which created uncertainty regarding the correct dose and caused the occurrence of drug resistant tuberculosis. The combined fixed doses measure aims to reduce the disease that affects 20 percent of Mozambican children.
Speaking at the launch of the new treatment, Health Minister Nazira Abdula explained that the gains made were the result of a combination of efforts, including training to make health units more effective in identifying signs and symptoms of the disease.
To combat the disease, among the various measures adopted, health services vaccinate children, as well as opting for preventive treatment.
Although the percentage of paediatric tuberculosis in Mozambique is still within the limits considered normal by the World Health Organization, defined as between 10 and 15 percent of total cases reported, the Ministry of Health has been intensifying its efforts as a way to reduce proliferation of the disease.
Tuberculosis, if not treated properly, can lead to death or cause sequelae, compromising respiratory or motor function depending on the affected organ. Mozambique is among the 30 countries with high tuberculosis burden in the world.
Other figures indicate that last year the country diagnosed 9,283 cases of TB-infected children, compared to 6,559 in the previous year, accounting for 12 percent of overall statistics. In 2016, MISAU registered 911, compared to 646 cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis, an increase of 38 percent compared to 2015.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, more than 300 children died of tuberculosis country in 2016.Source: O País
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