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Development of an effective TB vaccine crucial

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Development of an effective TB vaccine crucial

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…with calls to equitable, fair distribution, access of tools and medicine

BY CATHERINE MUROMBEDZI
HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

The call for an effective TB vaccine grows. Dr. Suvanand Sahu of Stop TB Partnership, virtually addressing the Call to Action TB conference in Goa, India recently spoke on the critical need of making the existing latest technologies available to all. He urged effective systems to be in place so that when there is an effective TB vaccine in the future, there will be an equitable roll out.
The stakeholders conference across the health sector divide was organized by TB People India, and TB People Zimbabwe, with financial support from Molbio Diagnostics.
Stop TB Partnership is a global alliance of organisations working together to end the TB epidemic.
“The development of new TB vaccines is a critical step towards ending the TB epidemic. We need vaccines that are more effective than BCG, especially for adolescents and adults, to prevent the spread of TB and save lives. We are encouraged by the progress made in recent years and are committed to supporting the development and introduction of new TB vaccines that can help us achieve our goal of a TB-free world. More funding should be directed to research and development of vaccines. There are several TB vaccine Clinical Trials. We remain hopeful for an effective TB vaccine for adults in the near future,” said Dr. Suvanand Sahu, Deputy Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership.
As of now we do not have any effective vaccine against TB. We only have BCG which offers protection to children and that too from severe forms of TB like TB meningitis.
Shobha Shukla, Editor of CNS Health News, India, emphasized the importance of using vaccines to protect against any disease. She called on people to demand vaccines where necessary.


“It is not enough to have a vaccine for any disease. We have to ensure that vaccines reach the people who need them. Vaccines kept in boxes are of no use unless they are made accessible,” said Shobha Shukla.
Tuberculosis is one disease that is vaccinated against, especially among the young.
The need to take action and use vaccines effectively to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of combating TB needs to be drummed up. All children must be vaccinated against TB.
Vaccines are a proved effective tool for protection against diseases. We remain hopeful of getting an effective TB vaccine in the near future. How near that future is, we do not know.


TB is a major public health problem in India, and vaccines play a crucial role in preventing and controlling the disease. The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is the only available TB vaccine currently. It is highly recommended for use in all children.
In Zimbabwe, BCG is administered to newly born babies. Mothers who give birth at home are encouraged to bring their babies to clinics for immunization.
All immunizations are free in public health facilities.
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