Operational considerations for maintaining essential services and providing prevention, care, and treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in low-resource non-US settings during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Operational considerations for maintaining essential services and providing prevention, care, and treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in low-resource non-US settings during the COVID-19 pandemic

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      Updated Aug. 17, 2020 Despite being preventable and curable, tuberculosis (TB) remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, taking the lives of 1.5 million persons each year. One-fourth of the world’s population—nearly 2 billion people–are infected with TB. In 2018, 10 million people, including 1.1 million children, became ill with TB disease (1). The global community has made substantial progress in the fight to end TB, and it is critical that the progress made in TB prevention, care, and treatment is not reversed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Modeling highlights the potentially devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global TB programs, which could result in an additional 6.3 million TB cases and 1.4 million TB deaths by 2025 (2). Furthermore, a 25% global reduction in TB detection over 3 months could lead to a 13% increase in TB deaths, setting TB mortality levels back to what they were 5 years ago (3). Increased demand for healthcare services due to COVID-19 can challenge health facilities and healthcare systems. Previous global and regional health emergencies, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Ebola virus disease, negatively impacted TB care (4-6). These challenges often resulted in disruption of TB care services, delayed diagnosis and treatment, and increased illness and death for patients with TB. It is therefore imperative to maintain continuity of essential TB care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document summarizes operational considerations to assist TB programs, health service managers, and healthcare personnel in maintaining continuity of essential TB services in low-resource, non-US settings during the COVID-19 pandemic (7-9).
    • Content Notes:
      TB and COVID-19 in Adults and Children -- Ensuring Continuity of Quality TB Services -- TB Case Finding and Diagnosis -- TB Treatment -- TB Preventive Treatment -- Safety in Healthcare Settings -- Supply Chain Management -- Combating Stigma -- References.
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