Objectives: To ascertain childhood tuberculosis (TB) trends, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection rates and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) prevalence rates in Zambia.
Methods: A retrospective review of Zambian annual TB notification data and National TB Programme reports for a 7 year period (2004-2011). TB trends were stratified by age and HIV status.
Results: The total number of children notified during this period with all forms of TB was 40 976. A total of 2670 of 40 976 (6%) were smear-positive cases. Notification rates of all forms of childhood TB show a decline in trends from 135 per 100 000 population in 2004, to 69 per 100 000 population in 2011.
Conclusions: Childhood TB is an important but neglected problem in Zambia highlighted by the fact that no data exists on HIV co-infection and MDR-TB. Strengthening of the National TB Programme and diagnostics services/algorithms are required to accurately define the TB burden, HIV co-infection and MDR-TB rates in children in Zambia.