THE PROBLEM OF TUBERCULOSIS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
A priority for all governments during this difficult time should be to ensure continuity of essential health services, including national programmes to end TB. During the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, additional deaths from TB (as an indirect consequence of the outbreak) exceeded deaths directly caused by Ebola. Access to treatment for people with TB was interrupted because community health workers, doctors and laboratories devoted their energies and resources to the Ebola outbreak. The same is now likely to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic, but on a global scale. As the relatively weak health systems in high-burden settings struggle to respond to COVID-19, there is a significant risk that prevention and treatment programmes for the existing conditions will be disrupted.
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