Tuberculosis kills up to 500,000 children per year worldwide. Many die because they were not diagnosed at all or else were diagnosed too late. It is one of the most significant preventable causes of childhood death worldwide. CHC is currently implementing one of the largest pediatric TB diagnostic studies in the world and the first of its kind in South-East Asia that will help us learn and deliver care to children under 5 in the Cambodian Province of Svay Rieng who suffer from tuberculosis and help us to find better ways to diagnose TB in children. The study, which is sponsored by the Aeras Global Tuberculosis Vaccine Foundation is enrolling 800 infants and children under five years old over a six month period, and also represents among the first efforts worldwide to assess the diagnostic potential of the GeneXpert System for diagnosis of TB among children. The GeneXpert test can identify tuberculosis within 90 minutes and results among adults with tuberculosis have been extremely promising.
Results from the study will inform future clinical and operational research worldwide, and may also guide national and international policy and guidelines development. Information gathered and the diagnostic skills developed by Cambodian health care and research staff in involved in the work in will help improve TB detection in children and provide necessary treatment and care to those children with TB.