KATHMANDY, MAY 17
With COVID-19, our lives are no longer the same. The pandemic has overshadowed other health issues and reversed the progress made over decades in our fight against other diseases, including tuberculosis (TB).
In India, despite sustained and aggressive nation-wide interventions, this deadly disease continues to haunt the population with one of the world's highest TB infection rates. Under the National TB Elimination Program, the country has successfully treated over 20 million patients since 1997.
Efforts have been afoot to further reduce the TB burden, but the COVID-19 has created serious obstacles.
However, rather than being an obstacle, the pandemic should be seen as an opportunity to simultaneously combat COVID-19 and TB, in order to avert millions of deaths. The respiratory route is the primary mode of transmission for both infections.
Interrupting it will stop the spread of both. In addition, global strategies to control COVID-19 and TB have common key elements: early detection, diagnosis, contact tracing, and case management.
A version of this article appears in the print on May 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.