Today on Universal Health Coverage Day, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) have launched updated guidance for health care workers who are involved in detecting and caring for patients with tuberculosis (TB).
Universal Health Coverage Day commemorates the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.
Supporting health care workers to be empowered and equipped to deliver high quality care for TB patients is one vital step towards universal health coverage.
Best Practice for The Care of Patients with Tuberculosis: A guide for low-income countries provides detailed guidance for the care and support of people in health care settings who present with symptoms suggestive of TB, and their subsequent care and support if found to be required. The guide has been developed by The Union’s member network of Nurses and Allied Professionals (NAPS) with ICN.
Dr Carrie Tudor, immediate past NAPS Sub-Section Chair and TB Project Director for ICN, says, “TB treatment is not generally part of nurse training, yet in low-resource settings there are fewer doctors, meaning that TB care is often carried out by nurses. This means high quality nursing care is vital to the successful treatment of TB and training with resources such as this guide is central to that.”
Mr Jojo Moyo, a nurse from Zambia said: “One of the tools that has taught me to think out of the box is the Best Practice Guide, in that I learned to identify gaps in standards and so now I am constantly able to identify ways in which to improve patients’ TB care and improve infection control practices.”
ICN has used the original version of the guide in all TB training for nearly 10 years. This second
2 edition has been developed in line with the End TB Strategy and takes a broader view than the earlier edition regarding what is required to achieve lasting control of TB. There is more information in this second edition about drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).
Dr Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director of The Union, said: “Everybody should receive the care they need, when they need it and at a good quality standard – yet far too often the place of your birth determines if you can access good healthcare or not. This has to change at all levels. The Guide is a crucial tool that is strengthening healthcare systems right at their heart. It is led by the patient’s needs and is being used to empower the staff who work with TB patients every single day.”