Table 15: TB and the Rights of Children

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Children are malnourished and at risk of TB infection.
  • Children live in households affected by TB.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRC 24(1) States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. CRC: Expressing concern to Portugal that “Infant mortality, under-5 mortality and child tuberculosis rates remain higher than the regional average, particularly in some northern rural areas, and are also too high in the Azores” and recommending that the State “[i]ncrease investment in public health care facilities, including investments by civil society” and “[e]nsure the equal access of all children to the highest attainable standard of health care in all areas of the country.” CRC/C/15/Add.162 (2001).
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRC 24(1) States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. CRC: Expressing concern to Uzbekistan “at the increasing number of children infected with preventable diseases, such as Tuberculosis …” and recommending that the State “[c]ontinue its reform of the health sector and its efforts to strengthen the primary care centres and the preventive health services.” CRC/C/UZB/CO/2 (2006).

CRC: Expressing concern in Armenia about “the continuous growth in tuberculosis morbidity among children” and recommending that the government “[t]ake measures to reduce child and infant mortality rates and combat tuberculosis.” CRC/C/15/Add.225 (2004).

CRC: Expressing concern Gabon that it continues “to be threatened by early childhood diseases such as … tuberculosis” and recommending that it “[r]einforce its efforts to allocate appropriate resources and develop and implement comprehensive policies and programmes to improve the health situation of children, particularly in rural areas” and “[f]acilitate greater access to primary health service.” CRC/C/15/Add.171 (2002).

CRC: Expressing concern to Uzbekistan at the “high incidence of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, despite high rates of immunization” and recommending the State “[i]mplement the 2000 Amsterdam Declaration to Stop TB.” CRC/C/15/Add.167 (2001).

CRC: Expressing concern to Ethiopia “at the high incidence of malaria and tuberculosis and their effects upon children, at the fragile health infrastructure, limited health awareness among the public and the limited implementation of the 1993 Health Policy and the 1994 Social Policy” and urging the State to “ensure that access to primary health care services is increased, that national health infrastructure is strengthened and that public health education programmes are used to lower infant mortality rates and raise life expectancy in the State party.” CRC/C/15/Add.144 (2001).

CRC: Expressing concern to Lithuania “at the high rates of child morbidity, in particular the increase in cases of tuberculosis” and recommending that the State “allocate appropriate resources and develop comprehensive policies and programmes to improve the health situation of all children.” CRC/C/15/Add.146 (2001).

CRC: Noting that Mauritania has a “resurgence of tuberculosis” and recommending that the State “[a]llocate appropriate resources and develop comprehensive policies and programmes to improve the health situation of all children without discrimination, in particular by focusing more on primary care and further decentralizing the health care system.” CRC/C/15/ADD.159 (2001).

CRC: Noting that Moldova has a “high incidence of tuberculosis … in schoolchildren” and recommending that the State “[d]efine sustainable financing mechanisms for the health care system, including adequate salaries for child health care professionals, in order to ensure that all children, in particular children from the most vulnerable groups, have access to free basic health care of good quality.” CRC/C/15/Add.192 (2002).

Other Interpretations 

WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, Children (WHO, 2011). 

WHO Guidance on ethics of tuberculosis prevention, care and control (WHO, 2010):

The obligation to provide access to TB services. Interventions should be gender-sensitive and address different types of vulnerabilities…. In addition, the needs of women, children, and people coinfected with HIV warrant special consideration.

WHO Guidelines for the programmatic management of drug-resistant tuberculosis: Emergency Update (WHO, 2008):

Extensive discussion of TB prevention, treatment and care options for children. Select recommendations:

9.5 Children. …Anecdotal evidence suggests that adolescents are at high risk for poor treatment outcomes. Early diagnosis, strong social support, individual and family counselling and a close relationship with the medical provider may help to improve outcomes in this group.

WHO Guidance for national tuberculosis programmes on the management of tuberculosis in children (WHO, 2006).

Abuja Call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Services in Africa (African Union, 2006):

Protection of Human Rights. To continue promoting an enabling policy, legal and social environment that promotes human rights particularly for women, youth and children and ensure the protection of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria….

Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support. To invest heavily in evidence-based prevention as the most cost-effective intervention with focus on young people, women, girls and other vulnerable groups.  Sp/Assembly/ATM/2 (I) Rev.3 (2006).

Patients’ Charter for Tuberculosis Care (World Care Council, 2006):

Care. The right to free and equitable access to tuberculosis care, from diagnosis through treatment completion, regardless of resources, race, gender, age, language, legal status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, culture, or having another illness.

CRC, General Comment 3 (2003):

“In the context of HIV/AIDS and taking into account the evolving capacities of the child, States parties are encouraged to ensure that health services employ trained personnel who fully respect the rights of children to privacy (art. 16) and non-discrimination in offering them… HIV-related care and treatment if and when needed, including for the prevention and treatment of health problems related to HIV/AIDS, e.g. tuberculosis and opportunistic infections.” CRC/GC/2003 (2003)