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Open Access Counting children with tuberculosis: why numbers matter

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In the last 5 years, childhood tuberculosis (TB) has received increasing attention from international organisations, national TB programmes and academics. For the first time, a number of different groups are developing techniques to estimate the burden of childhood TB. We review the challenges in diagnosing TB in children and the reasons why cases in children can go unreported. We discuss the importance of an accurate understanding of burden for identifying problems in programme delivery, targeting interventions, monitoring trends, setting targets, allocating resources appropriately and providing strong advocacy. We briefly review the estimates produced by new analytical methods, and outline the reasons for recent improvements in our understanding and potential future directions. We conclude that while innovation, collaboration and better data have improved our understanding of the childhood TB burden, it remains substantially incomplete.
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Keywords: TB; burden; estimation; paediatric

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, London, UK 2: Department of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 3: Institute for International Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 4: Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut 5: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 6: Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 7: Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 8: Global TB Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 9: School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Publication date: 01 December 2015

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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