Sabir is 14 years old and lives in Surat, India. He loves studying and competed in the national Science Olympiad. One day, Sabir remembers, “I started feeling giddy and then I had fever, I lost my appetite and I was coughing a lot.” He went to a private physician, who gave him medicine that didn’t help, and subsequently saw four other doctors – but no one mentioned TB. “We thought that he was suffering from chikungunya. We thought he may have dengue or malaria or something similar,” his aunt explained. Finally, Sabir said, “doctors visited our school and said that if you have these symptoms then you should get a test done for TB” – and after 22 days of suffering and uncertainty, Sabir tested positive for TB and is now being treated. He is looking forward to going back to school.
Sabir’s diagnosis was made using WHO-endorsed Xpert MTB/Rif (Xpert) assay, co-developed by FIND, Rutgers University and Cepheid. Xpert runs off the GeneXpert platform and is able to diagnose TB in children with high sensitivity through testing samples other than sputum – which children often cannot produce.
FIND’s paediatric TB programme provides a free-of-charge diagnostic solution for children with suspected TB, engaging providers in both public and private sectors for referrals and trainings. Over 88,280 children have now been tested using GeneXpert across ten cities, with more than 5,980 TB cases detected.
FIND’s paediatric TB programme in India is implemented in collaboration with the Revised National TB Control Programme of India (RNTCP) and is funded by USAID and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).