December 2020

A health worker takes a blood sample from an XDR-TB patient at Kitgum Hospital in northern Uganda. Photo credit: Diana Tumuhairwe/MSH

Originally published by Global Health NOW

As the COVID-19 scourge intensifies, it may be weakening our battle against tuberculosis—but pooling resources could boost the fight against both diseases.

While human and financial TB resources have been diverted to fight the pandemic, new TB case notifications have dropped by up to 75% in some countries, according to a Global Fund report published in September. In addition, TB service disruptions could lead to an additional 1.4 million deaths through 2025.

Mothers pick up medicines from a hospital pharmacy in Kenya. Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman

Read the blog on the MTaPS website

As we mark Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day this month, countries continue to battle the spread of COVID-19. The lack of effective treatments and testing capabilities at the onset of the pandemic was a stark reminder that access to safe and affordable medical products is key to achieving healthy outcomes. With more therapeutics and diagnostics becoming available, the preparedness of pharmaceutical systems to get medical products and services to people is particularly worrisome in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Chronic shortages of medicines, low quality, and high cost add to the burden of patients and health systems in LMICs, where up to 60% of health spending is on medicines, mostly from out-of-pocket payments. Poorer households spend up to 9.5% of their income on medicines at the point of care, making them vulnerable to poverty.

{Photo credit: Misa Rahantason/MSH} Photo credit: Misa Rahantason/MSH

Originally published on LinkedIn by MSH President and CEO, Marian W. Wentworth