Government orders for TB screening for students in boarding schools

18May 2018
James Kandoya
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Government orders for TB screening for students in boarding schools

CHILDREN are now undoubtedly becoming at high risk of contracting Tuberculosis (TB) disease according to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme report.

The report shows that at least 6,351 cases were identified to kids under the age of 15years, and that more efforts are needed to rescue the children from the infectious disease.

The programme’s monitoring and evaluation officer at the Ministry for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Zuwaina Kondo says at least a big percentage of children (3,054) under 15 years old were diagnosed with the disease in 2016. Another 1,674 were reportedly born with the infection.

“Testing and counselling for HIV is also done to children (under the age of 15) attending the TB clinics to prevent the spreads of it,” she said.

 She added that; “children with signs and symptoms suggestive of active TB, are treated with a full anti-TB course.”

 According to her, if there are no signs of active TB, the children are put on preventive treatment with isoniazid for six months.

She said the government through the responsible ministry was finalising on the 2017 report that will be published soon.

Few months ago, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu directed the chief medical officer to ensure all boarding school students were screened for tuberculosis before reporting to reduce prevalence of the disease.

Mwalimu spoke during the launching of new TB Paediatric Formulation that it aimed at preventing the prevalence of TB in the young ages.

The ceremony coincided with the government handing over of five Genexpert machines all worth 170m/- to private hospitals namely- Agha Khan, Hindumandal, TMJ, Kairuki and Regency to conduct free TB screening.

 She said the decision to screen TB for children enrolled in boarding schools was to reduce its prevalence adding that it was also in line with the country’s measures of reducing TB prevalence.

“It is not easy or open to diagnose TB to the children unless screened. I have therefore directed CMO to ensure that TB screening is done to all students before they are enrolled in boarding schools to reduce spread of the diseases,” she said.