People suffering from deadly tuberculosis (TB) faced major obstacles in getting themselves tested for TB as well as COVID-19 and continuing their treatment due to irregularity of health services amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Stop TB Partnership report released on Tuesday.
The report has been titled as "The impact of COVID-19 on the TB epidemic: A community perspective."
It had also made the world alert that it might not be able to achieve the sustainable development goal (SDG) of ruling out TB by the year 2030 if the medical facilities and TB care units continue to remain disrupted because of COVID-19.
More than 70 per cent of healthcare workers from different countries around the world reported that the number of patient count decreased who used to visit hospitals or medical centres to get themselves tested for TB.
In a survey conducted it revealed that 36 per cent of patients suffering from TB stated that the hospitals they visited for getting treatment for TB were shut during the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Half of the workers from all over the world reported that the medical centres they worked for reduced the services for TB care. While in Kenya and India, around 50 per cent of TB patients who were surveyed revealed that they used to receive extra medicines to carry on with their treatment at home due to the pandemic.
"COVID-19 has demonstrated the important role that affected communities play in responding to health crises, reporting barriers to access, supporting peers and filling gaps in services. The pandemic is an opportunity for national TB responses to become more people-centred and to involve communities," the report stated.
"After my Covid-19 experience which I had contracted in February, I realised how we need patient-centric care in the US. Because of the lack of patient-centric care, TB patients often don't complete TB treatment. The impact of Covid-19 and TB are compounded due to stigma and delayed diagnosis," Hindustan Times quoted US-based infectious diseases expert, Aakriti Pandita, who is also a TB and Covid-19 survivor.
Madhukar Pai, an epidemiologist and the director of Canada's McGill International TB Centre stated in the report that collaboration and solidarity within the TB community are vital to get back on track and reach the SDG goals. TB has been listed as one of the leading infectious diseases in the world which kills over 1.5 million people every year.
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