Dr Esin Nkereuwem, a Research Clinician in the Vaccines & Immunity Theme at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia, has been awarded a Global Health Clinical Research Training Fellowship to carry out an assessment of post-tuberculosis lung function in Gambian children.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading infectious disease globally and continues to occur in large numbers in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Out of every hundred cases of TB in The Gambia, at least six cases are recorded in children aged less than 15 years.
Despite adequate treatment, many people who have TB develop serious complications in their lung function which persists beyond the time of treatment. This makes them more likely to develop other diseases, and limits their ability to live a healthy normal life.
However, there is limited information about the frequency and spectrum of these post-TB complications in children, and how these children compare to their peers who never had TB. Hence, prevention and intervention strategies are poorly informed.
This project will estimate the prevalence of lung function complications among children who were previously treated for TB, and compare them to children who were never diagnosed with TB. This research will build upon a previous study in the Unit, the Reach for Kids Africa project, which evaluated new diagnostic tools and preventive measures for childhood TB in the Gambia in collaboration with the Gambia National Leprosy and TB Control Programme (NLTP).
The project will lay the foundation for a prospective evaluation of children from the time of recognising the disease to the start of treatment and up until the period post-treatment to show feasibility of preventive and intervention trials. Information about the spectrum of post-TB lung complications in children is needed to help prevent early life lung damage, and potential significant reduction in the development of non-communicable disease in adulthood.
This study will be led by Dr Esin Nkereuwem and Professor Beate Kampmann from the MRCG at LSHTM.
Dr. Nkeureuwem said, “This research gives me the opportunity to explore life after TB in children, and to identify how we can better intervene to help these children attain all of their life potentials despite the disease.”
Professor Kampmann commented, “I am really pleased that Dr Nkereuwem has been able to secure this prestigious fellowship from Imperial College- it will allow him to take forward new aspects of our childhood TB work, and I am sure that he will enjoy the training at the Brompton Hospital in London under the supervision of Professor Andy Bush, one of the world’s experts in child lung function.”
Other key collaborators include Professor Andrew Bush, (Imperial College London), Dr Kevin Mortimer (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), and Dr Toyin Togun (LSHTM).
The funding for this award is provided by the Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) at Imperial College London, supported by Wellcome Trust.