New Delhi, November 14
Over 1.5 million people in 45 high-burden countries, including India, are estimated to have had a missed or delayed tuberculosis diagnosis in 2020 due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study.
The research, published in the journal BMC Medicine, shows that children may be disproportionately affected in over half of countries analysed, those aged 65 or over in more than two thirds of countries, with sex being a risk factor in almost half of countries.
The team, including researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, noted that vulnerable populations in high-burden countries worldwide must be prioritised in efforts to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tuberculosis (TB) care.
“Our results show that in many countries those who already faced the most difficulty in obtaining TB diagnosis and care have suffered worsening access as a result of the pandemic,” said study joint lead author Finn McQuaid, from LSHTM.