On September 18, 2014 the USAID Tuberculosis (TB) Program South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Health and University of Pretoria, hosted a one-day seminar to address the diagnosis of TB in children, bringing together 80 experts at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.
The theme of the event, “Childhood TB: The Elephant in the Room”, aptly captures the nature of pediatric TB – overlooked in the past but increasingly recognized as an important challenge for National TB Control Programs to address.
The first session focused on current gaps in diagnosis of TB in children, as well as progress made to date. Participants discussed the South African TB diagnostic algorithm, and the impact of Xpert MTB/RIF rapid testing technology (GeneXpert) on diagnosis of pediatric TB. Diagnosis of TB in children occurs most easily when health care workers ask the right questions; however, it was agreed that additional training and support of health care workers is needed to ensure they know the right questions to ask and what to do with that information.
The second session built off lessons learned during the National Diagnostics Summit held in November 2013, and addressed key issues of regulation and standardization, access and affordability, priorities for operational research, and development of public-private partnerships to further support the development of TB diagnostics.