Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its recommendations on Tuberculosis (TB) infection prevention and control. These guidelines aim to provide a new evidence-based framework for tackling the illness, primarily focused on administrative, engineering, and respiratory protection controls. The updated approach to TB hopes to help halt what has become a momentous challenge.
10 million people fall sick with TB every year. One-quarter of the world’s population is estimated to have contracted TB and be at risk of developing the active infection during their lifetime. TB is an epidemic of global proportions that requires urgent action.
WHO’s updated guidelines aim to assist stakeholders to improve their strategies for TB infection prevention and control. To achieve this, it is essential that programmes at both the national and local levels experience systemic change by improving practices and infrastructure at the point of care.
The WHO integrated package for TB infection prevention and control entails the following:
- Triage of people with TB signs and symptoms, or with TB disease;
- Respiratory separation;
- Prompt initiation of effective TB treatment of people with TB disease;
- Respiratory hygiene;
- Upper-room germicidal ultraviolet (GUV) systems;
- Ventilation systems; and
- Particulate respirators, within the framework of a respiratory protection programme.
These interventions are not intended to be stand-alone, but rather to be integrated as part of a full infection prevention and control package.
WHO recommends that countries, third parties and all stakeholders implement its new updated guidelines. By applying the recommended package, it will be possible to ensure comprehensive interventions, improve infection prevention and control and ensure more secure and sustainable resources.
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