World Health Organization to Begin Using Fruit-Flavored Drugs to Prevent Children’s Deaths from Tuberculosis
Beginning early next year, a new line of fruit-flavored medicines will be used in the fight against tuberculosis, the world’s most deadly infectious disease.
In 2014 alone, TB killed 1.37 million adults and 140,000 children, and infected a further one million children. The disease is most prevalent among the world’s poorest nations, where sanitation is the least advanced.
Funded by UNITAID — the global health initiative that provides funding for medication and treatment for TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva — the child-friendly medicine will help parents to ensure that the full regimen of TB medicine, which takes six months, is completed. Children who survive the disease can become paralyzed or mentally disabled.
“The child is really just drinking a fruit-flavored drink,” the chief executive officer of the TB Alliance, Mel Spigelman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It will make it so much easier for a child and a parent or caregiver to make sure the child takes the treatment and takes it religiously for the full time.”