The response to COVID-19 can benefit from the capacity building efforts developed for tuberculosis (TB) over many years of investment by national authorities and donors. These include infection prevention and control, contact tracing, household and community-based care, and surveillance and monitoring systems.
Although modes of transmission of the two diseases are slightly different, administrative, environmental and personal protection measures apply to both (e.g. basic infection prevention and control, cough etiquette, patient triage).
TB laboratory networks have been established in countries with the support of WHO and international partners. These networks as well as specimen transportation mechanisms could also be used for COVID-19 diagnosis and surveillance.
Respiratory physicians, pulmonology staff of all grades, TB specialists and health workers at the primary health care level may be points of reference for patients with pulmonary complications of COVID-19. They should familiarize themselves with the most current WHO recommendations for the supportive treatment and containment of COVID-19.
TB programme staff with their experience and capacity, including in active case finding and contact tracing, are well placed to support the COVID-19 response.
Various digital technologies used in TB programmes can support the COVID-19 response, including adherence support, electronic medical records and eLearning.No tags for this post.