24 March 2016 | Statements

Unitaid seeks proposals to scale up better TB treatment for children

Unitaid today launched its latest call for funding proposals, focused on scaling up better tuberculosis (TB) treatment for children.

Innovative approaches are being sought to ease adoption of new TB drugs and make them more accessible to children in need.

If your organization is interested in submitting a proposal, please read the full details of how to prepare and submit a proposal here.

Improved tuberculosis treatment for children is one of three areas in which Unitaid will focus its TB investments following approval from the Executive Board last week.

Calls for funding proposals will be issued later for the other two areas: increasing access to improved and shorter treatments for drug-resistant tuberculosis; and preventive therapy for populations at greatest risk of developing active tuberculosis disease.

The three areas for intervention are seen as crucial by the Executive Board in helping to meet a global target to end the epidemic by 2035. 

Through calls for proposals, Unitaid seeks new ideas that enable organizations and governments to scale up their responses to health challenges. After rigorous analysis and vetting, Unitaid funds the best proposals that offer value for money and potential for real global-health impact.

TB is one of the top 10 causes of death in children: over 140,000 children die each year of this curable disease. While an estimated 1 million children need TB treatment each year, only 359,000 cases of TB in children were reported in 2014. Until now, no child-friendly TB medicines in the right doses and formulations were available. Children who did receive treatment often received inappropriate medicines, including split or crushed adult tablets. The lack of appropriate diagnostic and treatment options highlights – and reinforces – the neglect of children with TB.

The launch of the first new child-friendly formulations was announced in December 2015, as a direct result of the STEP-TB project, implemented by TB Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO). These fixed-dose combinations (FDC) of the three most commonly used drugs to treat drug-sensitive TB (rifampicin, isoniazid, and pyrazinamide) are child friendly; they are dissolvable and flavoured, offer simpler treatment, and facilitate correct dosing, improving adherence and child survival.

Under the call published today, Unitaid is soliciting proposals to address market-specific challenges, to ease adoption of new medicines to displace current suboptimal treatments, and to expand access to better TB medicines to reach more children in need.

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