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Int J Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757409


BACKGROUND: The unprecedented and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in African countries' health systems. The impact of shifted focus on COVID-19 for the past 2 years on routine health services, especially those for the epidemics of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, have been dramatic in both quantity and quality. METHODS: In this article, we reflect on the COVID-19 related disruptions on the Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria routine health services across Africa. RESULTS: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in disruptions of routine health services and diversion of already limited available resources in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, disease programs like TB, malaria and HIV have recorded gaps in prevention and treatment with the prospects of reversing gains made towards meeting global targets. The extent of the disruption is yet to be fully quantified at country level as most data available is from modelling estimates before and during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate country-level data is required to convince donors and governments to invest more into revamping these health services and help prepare for managing future pandemics without disruption of routine services. Increasing government expenditure on health is a critical part of Africa's economic policy. Strengthening health systems at various levels to overcome the negative impacts of COVID-19, and preparing for future epidemics will require strong visionary political leadership. Innovations in service delivery and technological adaptations are required as countries aim to limit disruptions to routine services.

Int J Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739796


OBJECTIVES: Investments into 'Blue Skies' fundamental TB research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have not been forthcoming. We highlight why blue skies research will be essential for achieving global TB control and eradicating TB. METHODS: We review the historical background to early TB discovery research and give examples of where investments into basic science and fundamental 'blue skies research' are delivering novel data and approaches to advance diagnosis, management and holistic care for patients with active and latent TB infection. FINDINGS: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that making available adequate funding for priority investments into 'Blue skies research' to delineate scientific understanding of a new infectious diseases threat to global health security can lead to rapid development and rollout of new diagnostic platforms, treatments, and vaccines. Several advances in new TB diagnostics, new treatments and vaccine development are underpinned by basic science research. CONCLUSIONS: Blue Skies research is required to pave the way for a personalized medicine approach for management of TB and other Respiratory Tract Infections and preventing long-term functional disability. Transfer of skills and resources by wealthier nations is required to empower researchers in LMICs countries to engage in and lead Blue Skies research.

Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S16-S21, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575135


In this perspective, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis (TB)/HIV health services and approaches to mitigating the growing burden of these three colliding epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). SSA countries bear significantly high proportions of TB and HIV cases reported worldwide, compared to countries in the West. Whilst COVID-19 epidemiology appears to vary across Africa, most countries in this region have reported relatively lower-case counts compared to the West. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional burden to already overstretched health systems in SSA, which, among other things, have been focused on the longstanding dual epidemics of TB and HIV. As with these dual epidemics, inadequate resources and poor case identification and reporting may be contributing to underestimations of the COVID-19 case burden in SSA. Modelling studies predict that the pandemic-related disruptions in TB and HIV services will result in significant increases in associated morbidity and mortality over the next five years. Furthermore, limited empirical evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 coinfections with TB and HIV are associated with increased mortality risk in SSA. However, predictive models require a better evidence-base to accurately define the impact of COVID-19, not only on communicable diseases such as TB and HIV, but on non-communicable disease comorbidities. Further research is needed to assess morbidity and mortality data among both adults and children across the African continent, paying attention to geographic disparities, as well as the clinical and socio-economic determinants of COVID-19 in the setting of TB and/or HIV.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Tuberculosis , Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology , Child , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Services , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tuberculosis/epidemiology
Int J Infect Dis ; 113 Suppl 1: S7-S12, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573985


The October 2020 Global TB report reviews TB control strategies and United Nations (UN) targets set in the political declaration at the September 2018 UN General Assembly high-level meeting on TB held in New York. Progress in TB care and prevention has been very slow. In 2019, TB remained the most common cause of death from a single infectious pathogen. Globally, an estimated 10.0 million people developed TB disease in 2019, and there were an estimated 1.2 million TB deaths among HIV-negative people and an additional 208, 000 deaths among people living with HIV. Adults accounted for 88% and children for 12% of people with TB. The WHO regions of South-East Asia (44%), Africa (25%), and the Western Pacific (18%) had the most people with TB. Eight countries accounted for two thirds of the global total: India (26%), Indonesia (8.5%), China (8.4%), the Philippines (6.0%), Pakistan (5.7%), Nigeria (4.4%), Bangladesh (3.6%) and South Africa (3.6%). Only 30% of the 3.5 million five-year target for children treated for TB was met. Major advances have been development of new all oral regimens for MDRTB and new regimens for preventive therapy. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic dislodged TB from the top infectious disease cause of mortality globally. Notably, global TB control efforts were not on track even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many challenges remain to improve sub-optimal TB treatment and prevention services. Tuberculosis screening and diagnostic test services need to be ramped up. The major drivers of TB remain undernutrition, poverty, diabetes, tobacco smoking, and household air pollution and these need be addressed to achieve the WHO 2035 TB care and prevention targets. National programs need to include interventions for post-tuberculosis holistic wellbeing. From first detection of COVID-19 global coordination and political will with huge financial investments have led to the development of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV2 infection. The world now needs to similarly focus on development of new vaccines for TB utilizing new technological methods.

COVID-19 , Tuberculosis, Miliary , Adult , Child , Humans , Nigeria , Pandemics , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2