Turning threats into opportunities: how to implement and advance quality TB services for people with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 4,581 words
Lexile Measure: 1850L

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Abstract :

Introduction: Until COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading infectious disease killer globally, disproportionally affecting people with HIV. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the gains made in the fight against both diseases. Discussion: Although crucial guidance has been released on how to maintain TB and HIV services during the pandemic, it is acknowledged that what was considered normal service pre-pandemic needs to improve to ensure that we rebuild person-centred, inclusive and quality healthcare services. The threat that the pandemic may reverse gains in the response to TB and HIV may be turned into an opportunity by pivoting to using proven differentiated service delivery approaches and innovative technologies that can be used to maintain care during the pandemic and accelerate improved service delivery in the long term. Models of care should be convenient, supportive and sufficiently differentiated to avoid burdensome clinic visits for medication pick-ups or directly observed treatments. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the chronic and short-sighted lack of investment in health systems and the need to prioritize research and development to close the gaps in TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention, especially for children and people with HIV. Most importantly, TB-affected communities and civil society must be supported to lead the planning, implementation and monitoring of TB and HIV services, especially in the time of COVID-19 where services have been disrupted, and to report on legal, policy and gender-related barriers to access experienced by affected people. This will help to ensure that TB services are held accountable by affected communities for delivering equitable access to quality, affordable and non-discriminatory services during and beyond the pandemic. Conclusions: Successfully reaching the related targets of ending TB and AIDS as public health threats by 2030 requires rebuilding of stronger, more inclusive health systems by advancing equitable access to quality TB services, including for people with HIV, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, services must be rights-based, community-led and community-based, to ensure that no one is left behind. Keywords: tuberculosis; HIV; COVID-19; differentiated service delivery; innovation; integration; stigma; people affected by TB

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A660000742