Tuberculosis (TB)

Taking action on the link between TB and diabetes - launch of new collaborative framework

31 August 2011 | Geneva | WHO and the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union) have developed a Collaborative Framework for Care and Control of Tuberculosis and Diabetes which presents recommendations based on evidence from three systematic reviews and a series of expert consultations.

It outlines essential steps for coordinated action in three areas:

  • Establishment of mechanisms for collaboration between national TB programmes and suitable counterparts responsible for care and control of diabetes;
  • Improved detection and management of TB in patients with diabetes;
  • Improved detection and management of diabetes in patients with TB.

Non-communicable and communicable diseases share many underlying health systems barriers for the scale-up of high-quality care and prevention. To break down these barriers, there needs to be better coordination of planning and implementation across the two disease groups. This is particularly relevant for diseases that are directly related to each other, such as diabetes and tuberculosis (TB). People with diabetes have a 2-3 times higher risk of TB than people with no diabetes. Furthermore, diabetes can worsen the clinical course of TB, and TB can worsen glucose control in people with diabetes.

Diabetes prevalence is increasing globally. The most dramatic increase is in low- and middle income countries undergoing rapid economic, social, and lifestyle changes. The increase in diabetes is seen also among the poor in poorest countries (where TB has always thrived). This is a major concern since the increase in the cases of diabetes risks jeopardizing progress that has been made in the global fight against TB over the last decade. Therefore, prevention and care of diabetes should be a priority not only for stakeholders involved in care and control of non-communicable diseases, but also for those working on TB control.

Several countries are planning to field test the TB and Diabetes Framework. WHO and The Union would like to encourage more countries to become involved, and would also like to receive information about plans and outcomes of such initiatives. For more information contact:

WHO
Stop TB: Knut Lönnroth, lonnrothk@who.int
Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion: Gojka Roglic: roglicg@who.int

The Union
Anthony Harries, adharries@theunion.org

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