Covid-19 causing increase in undiagnosed TB cases


The similarities of symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB) and Covid-19 are causing stigmatisation and discrimination of TB patients.

The situation has led to an increase in undiagnosed cases of TB, Mr Timothy Wafula, a health and human rights lawyer in Kenya has observed.

Mr Wafula, who is also the programmes Manager for the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network and HIV and AIDS (KELIN), a human rights NGO in Kenya said this when he gave a presentation to a group of Journalists on Tuberculosis and its response during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said TB patients were being treated with derision in local communities because they coughed – one of the symptoms of Covid-19 patients and called for a human rights-based approach to TB prevention, treatment and care to help overcome the barriers associated with care.

Mr Jerry Amoah-Larbi, Ghana’s National Secretary of TB Voice Network, a non-governmental organization that advocates for persons affected by TB in Ghana, said the Covid-19 pandemic affected the overall TB programme in Ghana

He said: “Covid-19 affected case notification, people feared being tagged as having covid-19 because of the similarities in the symptoms and so refused getting tested for TB.”

Mr Amoah- Larbi said the organization with Ghana’s Ministry of Health had put in place a standard operating procedure to ensure that treatment for TB Patients everywhere in Ghana was not compromised.

Ghana has received more than $1.2 billion from the Global Fund to assist in the fight against Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV and AIDS.

The Global Fund, founded in 2002, is an independent, multilateral financing entity designed to raise significant resources and accelerate efforts to end AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria epidemics.

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