Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the findings of the Stop TB Partnership's assessment entitled, The TB response is heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, published on 8 April 2020, what steps he is taking to improve global detection of tuberculosis cases during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We knew from previous health emergencies that COVID-19 would disrupt health services for diseases like TB. As the Stop TB Partnership's assessment highlights, TB case notifications have decreased this year, due in part to TB laboratory capacity being diverted to COVID-19 testing.

The UK has pledged over £1 billion of aid to fight COVID-19. We are working with organisations we fund to adapt their TB activities in light of COVID-19. For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is supporting countries to detect TB in a way that avoids individuals gathering in one place. The Global Fund is also helping countries procure additional diagnostic machines to ensure adequate testing capacity for TB. The UK has pledged up to £1.4 billion to the Global Fund to 2022.

The UK Government also supports developing countries to make their domestic health systems, including their TB programmes, stronger and more resilient.

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