The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new e-course on the management of tuberculosis in children and adolescents. The course, which was released on World Children’s Day (Nov 20), will contribute towards ensuring universal access to TB prevention and care for children and adolescents, WHO says.
Children and adolescents continue to experience a disproportionate burden of tuberculosis, with many going undiagnosed or untreated. WHO’s recently released Global Tuberculosis Report, highlights that an estimated 1.25 million children and young adolescents (aged 0-14 years) fell ill with TB in 2022, which is 12% of the global TB burden. Less than half of the children and young adolescents with TB were diagnosed and started on treatment, and only one third of young child contacts received TB preventive treatment, even when they were eligible.
The new WHO e-course on tuberculosis management is designed to build the capacity of healthcare workers, including at the primary health care level to increase their confidence to identify and manage children with TB or those who have been exposed to TB. It will contribute to accelerated actions planned over the next five years towards reaching commitments made by world leaders at the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on TB, to close gaps in access to care and safeguard the rights of children and adolescents.
“Every child has a right to a future free of TB,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme. “This new e-course gives practical guidance on key elements of the management of TB in children and adolescents and ensuring access to quality care. The role of healthcare workers in screening, preventing, diagnosing, and managing TB in children and adolescents is critical.”
Using the latest learning principles, the course consists of a combination of videos, presentations, quizzes and case studies. It builds on content included in the WHO operational handbook on tuberculosis Module 5: Management of tuberculosis in children and adolescents (2022) and other WHO guidance documents. It is free of charge and is self-paced. A certificate can be downloaded if a score of at least 80% is achieved in the final assessment.
The course is well aligned with the recently launched Roadmap towards ending TB in children and adolescents. One of the ten key actions in the roadmap calls for building and sustaining local capacity to prevent and manage TB in children and adolescents as targeted by the course. This includes faster uptake and implementation of the latest WHO guidelines for TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment and models of care, as well as nationwide training programs covering the full cascade of TB care in children and adolescents, followed by mentorship and supervision to ensure people- and family-centered care at all levels.
The e-course has been added to the End TB Channel in OpenWHO, and learners should first register on OpenWHO.org in order to access the course. The End TB Channel in OpenWHO now features more than ten courses and has over 36,000 unique users registered.