The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the fight against tuberculosis (TB), reversing years of progress in providing essential TB services and in reducing the TB disease burden. In 2020, TB deaths rose for the first time in more than a decade, fueled by a surge in the number of undiagnosed and treated cases.
However, the global response to COVID-19 is proof that we can fight both diseases at the same time. Community health workers, laboratories, diagnostic equipment, disease surveillance systems and other investments in the fight against TB are playing a pivotal role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now is the time to work together to get back on track to end TB as an epidemic and make the world a safer place from infectious disease. Now is the time to fight for what counts.
Asad says the three most important things in his life are supporting his beloved wife, caring for his mother and having good health. But after COVID-19 hit, there were times when all three were out of reach.
Dr. Jayanthi Shastri leads a team of 53 doctors, paramedics and support staff at the Nair Hospital microbiology unit in Mumbai, India. She has been on the front line fighting infectious disease for 37 years. Like many health care workers, the COVID-19 pandemic put an incredible amount of pressure on her and her team.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Bangladesh, tuberculosis (TB) case notifications dropped by 22% between 2019 and 2020, an alarming decrease in one of the world’s 30 high-TB burden countries.
Maia Chikovani is a busy mother of two boys. She spends her days looking after Luka, 14, and Saba, 12; managing the household; and tending to the animals on their small farm in the village of Bashi in western Georgia. She also works outside the home as a caretaker.
I have spent the last 25 years working to prevent tuberculosis and treat people with the disease. I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences, including from drug resistant TB, which is more deadly and more difficult and expensive to treat.
When the Philippines first went into COVID-19 lockdown last year, the Department of Health’s National TB Control Program (NTP) knew they had to act fast to ensure that TB patients were not cut off from accessing their lifesaving treatment.
Dr. Erlina Burhan has treated tens of thousands of TB patients over her 30-year long career. One patient she will never forget is An Biya Nur Melani. An Biya was just 17 years old when she was diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).