Global TB plan launched in Jozi

2012-03-20 12:32

Concern about the impact of tuberculosis on children has prompted the launch of a new global plan to develop effective vaccines in Johannesburg today.

The plan titled, “Tuberculosis Vaccines: A strategic blueprint for the next decade”, comes against the backdrop of growing concern about the impact of TB in children.

About 50 000 South African children are infected, according to 2010 statistics.

Although there is a TB vaccine given to children after birth it has proved not to be effective as the majority of people diagnosed with this airborne disease report that they were vaccinated as children.

The World Health Organisation’s global TB report shows that the number of children diagnosed with TB is one the rise in the world and the situation is worse in countries that bear the burden of TB like India, China and South Africa.

South Africa ranks third in the world in terms of TB infection.

The latest official statistics indicate that there were 360 183 confirmed cases of TB in this country in 2010 and about 50 000 of those were reported in children under the age of 15.

Dr Hassan Mohammed, who heads the TB vaccine trials in South Africa said: “We are seriously concerned about the levels of TB especially in children in this country which is why scientists are doing everything to find an effective vaccine.

“We believe that a safe and effective vaccine offers us the best hope for reducing the terrible burden of TB in South Africa and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is a global responsibility to ensure that TB in high burden settings is effectively addressed,” he said.

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