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About 9,500 children have been registered as suffering from tuberculosis in Mozambique in the last twelve months, compared to about 6,000 recorded in 2015.
According to Ivan Manhiça, director of the National Tuberculosis Control Program at the Ministry of Health, this is a result of improving diagnostic capacity, as well as the growth of the disease in the general population.
“At this stage, the increase is not a problem, because we still have many cases going unreported. And the more we identify, the better, because we will treat more children,” he says, adding that the level of paediatric tuberculosis in Mozambique is still within the 10 to 15 percent of total TB cases considered normal by the World Health Organisation,
He acknowledges however that the situation in children is worrying, considering that, if not treated properly, tuberculosis can lead to death or compromise respiratory and motor function. Last year, 380 children died of tuberculosis in the country.
Speaking at the first workshop on paediatric tuberculosis, an event recently held in Maputo, Manhiça said that one of the challenges in combating the disease is improving contact screening, followed by diagnosing and treating sufferers so as to prevent transmission of the disease, particularly to children.
“Mozambique is among the 30 countries with the highest tuberculosis rates in the world. We think that the number of children reported is below the actual figure. Most of our cases are recorded in children over five years of age, but the literature says that most cases should be in children under five. It means that we are underestimating cases of children under five who are the ones who spend more time with adults, parents, grandparents, uncles, nannies, and are more exposed to contact,” he explained.
To combat the disease, the health sector vaccinates children and offers preventive treatment, among other measures. In addition, it is training Maternal and Child Health nurses and general practitioners to screen, diagnose and treat tuberculosis in children.
The workshop brought together paediatricians, provincial medical doctors and health professionals working in the field of tuberculosis with the aim of reviewing the paediatric TB situation in the country.Source: Notícias
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