Health Ministry launches new TB project

Maseru – The Ministry of Health, with the support of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and funding from Unitaid, yesterday launched a new project aimed at reducing childhood illnesses and deaths due to Tuberculosis (TB) in Maseru.

The EGPAF Communications and Advocacy Manager Mrs. ‘Makopano Letsatsi said the project will scale up TB diagnosis and treatment among children in 40 high TB burden sites across the five districts of the country.

Mrs. Letsatsi said the the four-year project, Catalyzing Pediatric Tuberculosis Innovation, seeks to double diagnosis of TB in children, treat 1,100 children with TB, and initiate more than 7,000 children with latent TB treatment.

She said that while TB is curable, it is the second leading cause of death after AIDS in Lesotho. Children are the most vulnerable and often lag behind adults in accessing quality and comprehensive TB care and treatment.

She said the new project would help scale up diagnosis and treatment of children with TB by increasing the number of children screened and diagnosed with either active or latent TB and supporting the introduction of enhanced tools and service delivery models for TB in children, including new child-friendly first-line TB treatment fixed-dose formulations.

EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 27 million pregnant women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.

Founded in 1988, EGPAF today supports activities in 19 countries, Lesotho included and over 5,000 sites to implement prevention, care, and treatment services to further advance innovative research and execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.

Meanwhile, as preparations towards commemorating World TB Day on March 24 build-up, the Ministry of Health will on Wednesday launch a project aimed at catalysing Paediatric TB.

According to a programme issued by the Ministry of Health’s Public Relations Office, the CaP TB Project launch will be officiated by the Minister of Health, Mr Nkaku Kabi while the event will also draw attendance of Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) President who is expected to make a remark.

With the annual TB commemoration staged on March 24, countries and partners at the 142nd World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board (EB), adopted a Resolution in support of the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting (UNHLM) on tuberculosis (TB).

A press statement from WHO asserts that the Resolution included a request to WHO to work with key stakeholders to develop a draft TB multisector accountability framework to enable the monitoring, reporting, review and actions needed for greater accountability and impact, for consideration by the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2018 and presentation during the UNHLM on TB.

“It also recommended a resolution to be considered for adoption by the WHA in May 2018 in the lead up to the UNHLM

This resolution reinforces the commitments and calls to action of the Moscow Declaration, adopted by 120 countries at the first WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in November 2017,” reads the press statement.

The Director of the WHO Global TB Programme, Dr Tereza Kasaeva was also quoted as saying the resounding support for the TB Resolution at the Executive Board signals the commitment of countries and partners to accelerate the End TB response. Lena

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