More older children are falling prey to childhood tuberculosis (TB), an RTI query has revealed. A total of 124 childhood TB deaths were recorded in the past three years.
Year-wise, however, the total number of deaths has actually gone down.
The RTI plea revealed that the highest number of deaths (74) was recorded among children in the age group of 14-18. There were 35 deaths among children between 10 and 14 years. The one to 10-year group recorded 15 deaths in three years.
Similarly, the number of TB cases reported show that children in the older age group are more susceptible to the disease.
Of the total number of childhood tuberculosis cases (16,542) in Delhi in three years, the highest was recorded in the age group of 14-18 (8,989), followed by aged between 10 and 14 (4,450).
This means that incidence of tuberculosis almost doubles with increasing age.
“There is a sudden spurt in the prevalence as well as mortality among children in the age group of 10-14 years, which doubles in the age group of 14-18 years,” said Arvind Singh, a child rights activist, who filed the RTI application.
“Most children who are affected by tuberculosis live in slums and densely populated areas. It is likely that children who were vaccinated lose their resistance power to the disease as they grow older and become prone to TB as they live in poor conditions such as poor hygienic conditions, bad food habits and other environmental factors,” said Dr Anil Bansal, member, Delhi Medical Council (DMC).
“TB is both curable and preventable, hence an integrated approach for strengthening primary health care system, awareness among community, complete vaccination of children and community-based preventive strategies are required,” added Singh.