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Paediatric TB Patient Care

The USAID Tuberculosis South Africa Project uses its flagship Buddy Beat TB Package to contribute to effectively minimising anxiety in child patients and, by so-doing, increase retention in care and treatment outcomes among this vulnerable population. Buddy Beat TB is a friendly TB-fighting mascot developed to comfort and encourage pediatric patients to take their multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) treatment while admitted as in-patients in hospitals across South Africa.

When children are sick and admitted in hospital their routines are disrupted as they are separated from their parents, siblings and other family members for extended periods of time, often resulting in anxiety. Through Buddy, children learn about MDR-TB disease and their treatment through play.

Paediatric patients learn about their health, with emphasis on the importance of taking all doses of their treatment so they can be cured and become healthy again. An important component of the initiative is giving children opportunities to express their worries and feelings in safe and comfortable spaces through play activities and therapy.