One of the most significant issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic is the disruption of health-related services. The impact of national policies and implications of the national institutions is one of the most important factors in ensuring access to TB services. As reported by WHO, national TB programmes and health services should be “ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19, while ensuring that TB services are maintained.”
In order to be able to tackle the problem, it is important to ensure a multilateral approach to the topic:
Ensure availability of services:
Globally, institutions failed to provide effective TB care even before COVID-19, the pandemic have only worsened this situation, which have led to multiple human rights violation. There were delays in the delivery of the pharmacotherapy treatment, directly observed therapy (DOT) and other services.
Information and awareness-raising campaign
The pandemic has highlighted some societal problems related to prejudice and assumption, which led to discrimination and stigma. It is important to educate society about both diseases and ensure that they understand the effects and risks.
Vaccination is one of the most effective prevention measure for both TB and COVID-19. The progress of COVID-19 vaccine development is remarkable worldwide. Authorizes must be involved in the process of ensuring the accessibility of the vaccine, as well as promoting the vaccination.
The TB vaccine situation is a slightly more complicated one, as there is no perfect solution yet. The candidate "M72/ AS01E TB is one of the most advanced TB vaccines for adults" and is still in the testing process, but looks very promising. However, availability of funding and political will play a key role in further development, with the COVID-19 vaccine receiving much more attention in this short time than a TB vaccine.
We encourage you to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect yourself and others around you.