The COVID-19 pandemic is having a serious impact on the most vulnerable communities worldwide and threatens progress on HIV, TB, malaria, vaccination and other areas of health.

Below, you can find regularly updated information on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and news items from around the world on important developments.

1. Fauci Highlights
2. Global Fund Survey
3. Imperial College Study
4. COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS
5. COVID-19 and Malaria
6. COVID-19 & Tuberculosis
7. Latest News
8. Further Reading

Want updates in your inbox? Sign up here:

Highlights: Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 and AIDS, TB and Malaria

On September 11, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria hosted a live conversation with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci exploring how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting low- and middle-income countries around the world, the threat it poses to long-term U.S. global health investments and how the U.S. can help.

See the full event and highlights here

Global Fund Survey: Majority of HIV, TB and Malaria Programs Face Disruptions as a Result of COVID-19

Results from the Global Fund’s latest biweekly survey show challenges for HIV prevention and HIV, TB and malaria case finding. In addition, the Global Fund is seeing cancelled or delayed prevention activities and laboratory staff being reassigned to COVID-19 – twenty percent of HIV and TB lab services are experiencing high or very high disruptions.

  • HIV: Prevention, testing and support for people living with HIV are still the most impacted. Nearly three quarters of countries are experiencing disruptions in HIV service delivery, with 15% of countries are still experiencing high or very high level disruption.
  • TB: Three quarters of countries are experiencing disruptions in TB service delivery, with 14% of countries reporting high disruption.
  • Malaria: More than half of countries are experiencing disruptions in malaria service delivery, with 14% of countries reporting high disruption.

Activities are being canceled due to:

  • Lockdowns
  • Restrictions on gatherings of people
  • Transport stoppages
  • COVID-related stigma
  • Reluctance of health workers to attend to people suspected of having TB or malaria – which have many of the same initial symptoms as COVID-19
  • Clients not seeking health services as usual

“At the current rate, COVID-19 is killing about the same number of people every month as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. However, the death toll from these three diseases will have increased as a result of the knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, due to lockdowns, resources diverted to the new virus, and interruptions to lifesaving services. Moreover, some of the countries that have so far been spared the worst of COVID-19 itself may be hardest hit by its economic consequences,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “No country is immune to the spiraling economic costs of the pandemic; prolonged economic shocks leave deep scars, which will have profound effects on people’s health in the years to come.”


Imperial College Study

Imperial College London estimates “in high burden settings, HIV, TB and malaria related deaths over 5 years may be increased by up to 10%, 20% and 36%, respectively, compared to if there were no COVID-19 epidemic.” That’s why the Global Fund to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is providing immediate funding through its COVID-19 Response Mechanism.

NEW YORK TIMES: ‘The Biggest Monster’ Is Spreading. And It’s Not the Coronavirus.

Tuberculosis kills 1.5 million people each year. Lockdowns and supply-chain disruptions threaten progress against the disease as well as H.I.V. and malaria.

Aug. 3, 2020 – It begins with a mild fever and malaise, followed by a painful cough and shortness of breath. The infection prospers in crowds, spreading to people in close reach. Containing an outbreak requires contact tracing, as well as isolation and treatment of the sick for weeks or months.

This insidious disease has touched every part of the globe. It is tuberculosis, the biggest infectious-disease killer worldwide, claiming 1.5 million lives each year.

Until this year, TB and its deadly allies, H.I.V. and malaria, were on the run. The toll from each disease over the previous decade was at its nadir in 2018, the last year for which data are available.

Yet now, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, consuming global health resources, these perennially neglected adversaries are making a comeback. Read more from Apoorva Mandavilli in the New York Times.

How the Global Fund is Responding to COVID-19


  • A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy due to COVID-19 could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths from AIDS-related illnesses, including from tuberculosis, in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The 25.7 million people living with HIV and 16.4 million people taking antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Arica risk treatment interruptions due to COVID-19 because HIV services are closed, supply chains to deliver antiretroviral therapies are disrupted or service providers are overwhelmed.
  • “The COVID-19 pandemic must not be an excuse to divert investment from HIV,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “There is a risk that the hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19, but the right to health means that no one disease should be fought at the expense of the other.”
  • Recent data from PEPFAR also shows the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on the HIV response—in particular on testing and treatment for HIV, including for pregnant women. Anti-retroviral treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women is down 4.46%. We’ve also seen a worrying 25% decline of HIV treatment initiation for many age groups and a 25% decline in HIV case identification based on reduced testing across all age groups. These declines are consistent with the latest Situation Report of the Global Fund from October 27, which indicates that three quarters of Global Fund supported HIV programs have experienced “moderate” to “very high” service disruption in the wake of COVID-19.
Learn More

COVID-19 & Malaria

  • This year, we celebrated the distribution of the 2 billionth bed net to prevent malaria infections, but if COVID-19 leads to a severe disruption malaria services like insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines, malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could double.
  • For many countries in the Sahel region of West Africa, peak malaria season in September is likely to overlap with COVID-19 related disruptions if current trends hold.
Learn More

COVID-19 & Tuberculosis

  • Lockdowns and limitations on diagnosis, treatment and prevention services could erase five years of progress on TB, increasing the annual number of deaths and cases over the next five years.
  • A three-month lockdown and 10-month restoration of services could mean an additional 6.3 million TB cases and 1.4 million deaths over five years.
  • Tuberculosis kills 1.5 million people each year, more than any other infectious disease.
Learn More

Chart provided by USAID. See slide deck for more.

Latest News

2/23/21: report highlights tremendous burden from infectious diseases in SEAR countries (eurekalert)

“COVID-19 has disrupted the control of other infectious diseases in myriad ways, hindering routine vaccination programs, impeding the distribution of bed nets against malaria, and reducing TB services, among others. With the rollout of vaccines against the novel coronavirus and the ebbing of COVID-19, it will be essential to devote our full collective attention to the control of infectious diseases that have long plagued this region and continue to constitute a significant proportion of the avertable disease burden. ‘As the battle against the pandemic continues, so too must our progress against communicable diseases, for which WHO will continue to pull out all stops in support of our Member States, partners, and the Region’s near 2 billion people,’ said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO SEARO.” READ MORE

2/23/21: Non-Covid patients ‘neglected’ (The namibian)

“While Namibia has made significant progress in fighting malaria, statistics from the ministry of health show that in the first three months of 2020, 11,600 malaria cases were recorded countrywide, including 32 deaths. In June 2020, the ministry said it was not overly alarmed by the rise in malaria cases as it was malaria season and that measures were being taken to deal with the problem.” READ MORE

2/22/21: Why Does the Pandemic Seem to Be Hitting Some Countries Harder Than Others? (THe new yorker)

“’The telltale signatures of COVID-19 just aren’t there,’ [Ajay Shah, Indian economist] said. He won’t venture any hypotheses about the cause of the excess deaths. But among the possible candidates are indirect consequences of the pandemic: wage loss, displacement, malnourishment, forced migration, and disruptions in health care—the skipped clinic visit for malaria, diabetes, TB, or hypertension. According to World Health Organization analyses, disruptions in medical care and prevention programs related to malaria, TB, and H.I.V. will have cost many more lives in sub-Saharan Africa in the past year than the coronavirus. In poorer regions, especially, infection isn’t the only way that the pandemic can cost lives.” READ MORE

2/22/21: Govt, UN, Hail Nigeria’s HIV Response (leadership – nigeria)

“’When COVID-19 came, like in March, April and May, Nigeria was down in terms of the number we are capturing, in terms of the number we are getting to place on treatment but look at June, July and August, it has never happened in any country in the world. Nigeria [rebounded] and because of that, Nigeria is being recognised as one of the six countries that have survived the COVID-19  impact. In the past 18 months, Nigeria has added about 400,000 on treatment and about 1,000 of these are key affected population’ [National Agency for the Control of AIDS Director General (DG) Dr, Gambo Aliyu]. The DG, however, stressed the need for domestic funding and local manufacturing of commodities.” READ MORE

2/22/21: To Decolonize Global Health, We Must Examine the Global Political Economy (think global health)

“African countries face collective financial losses from the pandemic of over $115 billion, which will push 40 million people into extreme poverty. Lockdowns and disrupted health care will lead to rising cases of other infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, doubling deaths from them.” READ MORE

2/21/21: Sierra Leone: Drugs + HIV or AIDS + COVID-19 = deadly mix (mail & Guardian – sierra leone)

“The problems faced by people living with HIV during this pandemic are not limited COVID Sierra Leone. In South Africa, efforts to prevent and treat HIV stalled at the beginning of Covid-19. Currently, South Africa has the most CVODI-19 infections and deaths in Africa, with cases exceeding 1,400,000, and more than 40,000 deaths. Worst still, data from the country shows an increase in COVID-19 deaths for people living with HIV and tuberculosis. Last year, about 690,000 people died from HIV-related causes around the world and 1.7-million people were newly infected. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a need to redouble efforts to avoid the worst-case scenario of half a million excess deaths in sub-Saharan Africa because of interruptions in HIV responses. Although the HIV prevalence rate remains relatively low in Sierra Leone, disruptions in testing, tracking and treatment could have severe consequences. In 2019, UNAIDS estimated that 1.6% of adults aged 15 to 49 live with HIV in Sierra Leone.” READ MORE

2/22/21: NACA: nigeria among six countries defying covid-19 impact on HIV/AIDS (This day live – Nigeria)

“Gambo said the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the assistance from the Global Fund among other development partners are responsible for the milestones. ‘COVID-19 struck when we were least expecting and when we were not ready. In March, April and May, Nigeria was down in terms of the numbers we were capturing and getting to place on treatment, but after May, we jumped. What happened in June, July, August in Nigeria has never happened in any part of the world’.” READ MORE

2/20/21: while waiting for covid-19 vaccine rollout or treatment (modern Ghana)

“Some examples of essential services that cannot be sacrificed because of COVID-19 include routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of psychological and mental conditions, non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, blood bank services, among others.” READ MORE

2/18/21: Coronavirus increasing self-medication (ghana web – ghana)

“Statistics indicate that Ghana is among the 15 highest malaria burden countries in the world and reported the highest increase in absolute case numbers of 500,000 new cases from 2017 to 2018. Despite this worrying situation, herbal preparation or home remedies and self-medication appear on the increase due to COVID-19 and the fear of hospital visitations. This is against the global malaria 3Ts (Test, Treat and Track), campaign, which was doing just good in hospitals across the country before Ghana started recording COVID-19 cases. A visit by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to some drug stores and herbal retail shops in Ashaiman and Okaishie Drug Lane in the Greater Accra Region indicates that the preference was not only linked with cost but some trust in the potency of the local mixtures and home remedies.” READ MORE

2/18/21: U.S. will pay over $200 million in WHO contributions, says Antony Blinken (the hindu)

“’The United States believes that multilateralism, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, are essential not just as an effective international COVID-19 health and humanitarian response but also building stronger global health capacity and security for the future,’ [U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken] told his counterparts on Wednesday. ‘We plan to provide significant financial support to COVAX through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. And we’ll work to strengthen other multilateral initiatives involved in the global COVID-19 response – for example, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria,’ Mr. Blinken said.” READ MORE

2/18/21: Prioritizing Public Health Pays Off in Africa’s COVID Fight, But ‘Moral Catastrophe’ Looms (Homeland Security Today)

“’We will go to war with what we have. What we have is our health systems, what we have is our people,’ [Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong] said. ‘But we count on the resilience of our people, of Africans, who have fought these viruses over and over and over — the HIV, the malarias, the Ebolas — that we’ll be able to deliver these vaccines in a timely fashion.’ HIV kills more than 500,000 Africans a year. Over the next 30 years, over 4 million Africans could die every year from antimicrobial resistance. Nkengasong said he fears ‘COVID is going to aggravate’ these along with the killers tuberculosis and malaria. ‘We see the light at the end of the tunnel because of the COVID vaccines,’ he said. ‘But I always caution that we should recognize that our only failure in this fight against COVID-19 will be the failure for us to admit some of our own failures… we just have to make sure innovation keeps growing and we keep sharing.’” READ MORE

2/18/21: HIV Testing, ART Initiation in South Africa Falls Nearly 50% in COVID-19 Lockdown (contagion live – south africa)

“’We were surprised that ongoing ART provision was not more heavily impacted,’ [Jienchi Dorward, BSc, MBChB, MRCGP, MSc] said. ‘Modelling studies…had suggested that decreases in ART provision related to COVID-19 would have the largest impact on HIV related mortality in Africa. So it is good news that ART provision was not so heavily impacted.’ Rates of HIV testing and ART initiation gradually improved as the pandemic restrictions were eased from the implementation of the national lockdown, which began at Level 5 on March 27 and was eased to Level 4 on May 1 and Level 3 on June 1. There were 76,706 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in KwaZulu-Natal province by July 31, 2020. ‘It is crucial to ensure access to all aspects of HIV care through the COVID-19 pandemic’ Dorward said. ‘This will require innovation to ensure that people can continue to test, start treatment and continue receiving uninterrupted ART.’” READ MORE

2/17/21: Unprotected African health workers die as rich countries buy up COVID-19 vaccines (Science magazine)

“[Robert Schooley, an infectious disease researcher at the University of California, San Diego] thinks the United States should take a more active role in protecting health care workers in countries such as Zimbabwe. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, launched in 2003, has saved countless lives by providing more than $80 billion in the fight against HIV, he notes. ‘We have worked with our counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa for 2’ years to try to help them build a more resilient health care infrastructure,’ Schooley says, “and we’re sitting on our hands watching that be torn apart by the coronavirus.’” READ MORE

2/18/21: opinion: The fight against tb, paused by covid-19, must resume (devex)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives, economies, and health systems, across the world with record-breaking speed. In doing so, it has seemingly pushed aside tuberculosis, another deadly airborne infectious disease. But TB didn’t go anywhere. People just got distracted, health workers were redirected, and health systems became overwhelmed. In just a few months, the pandemic reversed years of progress made in the fight against TB. Recovering from this setback is an urgent priority.” READ MORE

2/18/21: Opinion: Covid has strengthened our health systems (the hindu business line)

“While India has managed to keep the COVID-19 mortality rate at low levels, there is consensus among India’s policymakers that public spending needs to go up. Increased spending will help to upgrade health infrastructure in the country, including at the primary level, over the next six years. This will strengthen primary healthcare and extend the reach of malaria services in rural and remote areas, for the most vulnerable populations, where malaria is increasingly concentrated.” READ MORE

2/17/21: Learning from COVID-19 to accelerate malaria vaccines development (medical xpress)

“It is likely that malaria cases have been underreported during this pandemic. The challenges for health systems for coping with COVID-19 and malaria at the same time are onerous due to complex interactions between both diseases. Malaria and COVID-19 signs and symptoms can be similar, complicating diagnoses. Thus, malaria may go undiagnosed in people presenting with fever and testing positive for COVID-19. Symptomatic malaria-infected individuals could also be deterred from seeking healthcare because of fear of COVID-19 infection and the stigma thereafter.” READ MORE

2/17/21: Updates on SDG goal 3 in kenya (borgen magazine)

“As of 2018, the tuberculosis incidence rate in Kenya was 292 per 100,000 people. With disruptions in healthcare, children are at increased risk of contracting such preventable diseases. In addition, COVID-19 has impacted health outcomes for people with HIV/AIDS, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.” READ MORE

2/16/21: it’s vital to prioritize tb preventive therapy for almost a million south africans – right now (daily maverick)

“The results of a 2018 national TB prevalence survey were released on 5 February 2021, showing that there are 390,000 people living with TB in South Africa. With an average household size of 3.3 people, this means that 897,000 people – in all likelihood more, due to the impact of COVID-19 on TB services – were exposed to TB in the household. It is clear that enhanced strategies for preventing close contacts of TB patients from contracting the disease are urgently needed.” READ MORE

2/16/21: African Union chalks huge success in combating malaria amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (news ghana – ghana)

“Beating malaria remains a major public health challenge in Africa. During the COVID-19 pandemic African governments mounted effective responses that ensured access to malaria services which averted many thousands of deaths on the continent. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of investing in and strengthening health systems and the need to work together to find solutions. The response to COVID-19 has set a challenge, to apply the same vigour, in the fight against malaria, for Africa to accelerate the elimination of malaria by 2030.” READ MORE

2/16/21: Innovation, collaboration, and policy during COVID-19 (health europa)

“As observed during previous crises, the indirect morbidity and mortality effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may be as important as the direct effects of the pandemic itself. With regards to other infectious diseases, there are widespread disruptions to HIV, TB and malaria service delivery programmes globally with shortages in medical supplies, treatments and diagnostics. It is estimated that the disruption of routine childhood immunisation services across the globe puts at least 80 million children under one at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, yellow fever, typhoid, cholera and tetanus. The effects of the disruption to these and other, non-communicable disease programmes including mental health and maternal health programmes will be seen for years to come.” READ MORE

2/16/21: Let us rekindle the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS (ghana web – ghana)

“Samuel Opoku-Afriyie, a medical practitioner at the Effiduase government hospital, has stressed the need to rekindle the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. He said HIV/AIDS was still causing havoc in society and there was the need for broader stakeholder engagement and investments to help fight the disease in communities. Mr Opoku-Afriyie made the call at a durbar to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day celebration at Asokore, in the Sekyere East District. He said the outbreak of the COVID-19 seemed to have overshadowed the education and awareness creation on HIV/AIDS in the communities and called on stakeholders to help promote sustainable education on the disease. Mr Opoku-Afriyie called on religious leaders, traditional leaders, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations and others to lead the educational campaign to help reduce the spread of the virus in communities.” READ MORE

2/16/21: NGO rolls out COVID-19 social cash transfer initiative (nyasa times – malawi)

“The National Association for Young People Living with HIV (NAYPLHIV) has rolled out a social cash transfer initiative aimed to alleviate economic hardships among the vulnerable and marginalized groups during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The association’s executive official Edward Phiri said the initiative is mainly targeting 64 Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV (AYPLHIV) in the realm of transgender, adolescents living with HIV orphans, supporting active COVID-19 adolescent living with HIV and young people living with HIV. Other beneficiaries are young pregnant women and widowed mothers below the age of 25, young positive couples most in need, young people living with HIV who lost their job during COVID crises and adolescent girls and young women to support with sexual reproductive health services aged 10-30 years.” READ MORE

Further Reading

2/15/21: Don’t neglect ongoing battle against TB (the straits times)

“COVID-19 has gripped the attention of the world this past year. As a nation, we have demonstrated that through a combination of decisive public health policy and the willingness of our people to work together for a common goal, it is possible to limit the effects of COVID-19 on the community and economy. However, COVID-19 has effectively stolen the limelight from the many other diseases that have continually plagued and harmed people for decades. This includes TB. Globally and locally, the burden of TB remains high. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2019, 1.4 million lives were lost to TB. The effects of TB, like COVID-19, are far-reaching. With a single positive case, TB can insidiously infect many people as it is an airborne disease.” READ MORE

2/15/21: Malaria Outbreak Hits North-West District (the voice – botswana)

“As part of addressing the situation, [acting head of Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT), Sandra Maripe-Ebutswe] revealed that they have since started a Malaria campaign that has since reached a total of 6488 people. The malaria awareness messages, she said, are passed through community mobilization. Ebutswe however highlighted that they are faced with a challenge of shortage of resources. ‘We are short staffed; the same people who are on the front lines fighting COVID-19 are the ones who are also engaged in the Malaria outbreak.’ She added that, both malaria and COVID-19 require contact tracing and noted that they do not have enough resources including transport to arrest both situations.” READ MORE

2/15/21: New UNAIDS Country Director Pledges Continued Support to Liberia’s HIV Response (front page africa – liberia)

“Madam [Pepukai] Chikukwa [UNAIDS Country Director to Liberia] explained that she started working in Liberia from September 2020, but Madam Chikukwa assured Minister Kemayah of UNAIDS’ commitment for the HIV response, saying right now there is quite a lot of anxiety for HIV responses and other global priorities. With COVID crisis ongoing around the world, Madam Chikukwa stated that she does not know how the world is going to look like. According to her, countries are trying to recover from the COVID crisis, and so financially there might be some bit of hesitance and reluctance to commit to HIV.” READ MORE

2/15/21: President Kenyatta Highlights the African Union Progress in Defeating Malaria Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic (African leaders malaria alliance)

“President Uhuru Kenyatta, chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, announced the progress that has been made in responding to malaria amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency. The third Zero Malaria Starts With Me annual Africa Malaria Progress Report highlights the achievements, challenges, and future directions in Africa’s battle to defeat malaria. Since the launch of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me Campaign in 2018 by African Presidents, 19 countries have launched the initiative. The public-facing campaign calls for communities and leaders to take personal responsibility to end malaria. ‘At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO predicted a doubling of malaria deaths if severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines were experienced. While we are now in the second wave of the pandemic, I am delighted to say that through the strongest in-country leadership, this predicted doubling in malaria deaths was averted,’ said President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.” READ MORE

2/15/21: Closing Inequality Gaps Will Halt HIV Infections – Byanyima (the independent – uganda)

“On rights, 34 million girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are not in secondary school even before the disruption caused by COVID-19. Yet we know that a full round of secondary education reduces the HIV risk to girls by 50%. Let us offer every girl an excellent education and build community organizations to help them realize their rights. We will never end AIDS if we do not make HIV prevention a renewed urgent priority nor will we succeed if communities are not the front and centre of our responses.” READ MORE

2/15/21: What Coronavirus Taught Us about Developing Nations (America magazine)

“The coronavirus’s rapid and unpredictable spread has disrupted global health systems. It has also threatened to reverse decades of progress we have made on fighting illnesses like H.I.V. and malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization study, 14 African countries have seen a decline of more than 50 percent in critical health services. Children have missed out on vaccinations. Mothers have missed their pre- and postnatal care. And there has been a sharp decline in families’ access to healthy and nutritious food.” READ MORE

2/14/21: DRC bracing to Contain Ebola Outbreak, as Guinea Another African Country Announces Cases (world vision – Democratic republic of congo)

“’Since March 2020 we adapted our programmes to augment the COVID19 standard operating procedures, and thankfully most of the measures like frequent handwashing, and physical distancing work for Ebola prevention as well,’ World Vision East Zone Director, David Munkley adds. WHO and the government have commenced shipment of vaccine doses to Butembo and ensuring shipment of cold chain equipment to the affected zone, as well as working to strengthen laboratory capacity. This part of the country suffers cycles of violent conflict that complicate surveillance efforts, and constrain access to affected areas by responders. Ongoing health emergencies such as COVID-19, malaria, common cholera and measles outbreaks further stretch the country’s ability to rapidly detect and respond to new Ebola cases.” READ MORE

2/14/21: How Brazil gambled on unproven drugs to fight COVID-19 (CNn– brazil)

“In September, the Health Ministry’s strategic medicines office confirmed to CNN Brasil that it was in the process of acquiring more chloroquine with resources earmarked for combatting COVID-19 because its stockpile had fallen to 375,500 doses. It did not specify how much it was ordering or how much it would cost. ‘In 2020 the malaria program has seen an increase in the number of cases in Brazil, and as has been announced daily, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Brazil is still high,’ the department said in a written response. ‘Therefore it is expected that the demand from states and municipalities for this medicine will remain high in the second half of 2020.’ They did not specify what part was used for its malaria program and what part for combatting COVID-19, but according to figures obtained by CNN Brasil, a total of 3.23 million pills were produced by the Brazilian army’s pharmaceutical unit in 2020. That compares with 265,000 pills produced in 2017 and none produced in 2018 or 2019. And according to the Health Ministry’s own figures, the number of cases of malaria was 60,713 in the first six months of 2020, 16 percent lower than the first half of 2019.” READ MORE

2/13/21: What COVID-19 has taught the world on data (The standard – Kenya)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been more far-reaching and devastating than even loss of lives, jobs and economic growth would suggest. It has worsened poverty, childhood malnutrition, and domestic violence and halted or reversed gains made in nearly half of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many people, including mothers and young children, have died not from the virus, but because of disruptions and delays in care. Up to a decade of progress against HIV, tuberculosis, malaria has been erased.” READ MORE

2/12/21: COVID-19 Situation Report (the global fund)

“12% to 14% of countries are reporting high disruption in service delivery for all three components. However, the risk trend continues to decrease for all of them. For malaria, more than half of the countries where the Global Fund invests have reported no or low disruption to health service delivery. 1% of countries are still reporting very high service delivery disruption for HIV and TB components.” READ MORE

2/12/21: As HIV and COVID-19 collide, questions loom over PEPFAR’s future (devex)

“For many communities where PEPFAR operates, the health and economic devastation wrought by COVID-19 are more pressing concerns than HIV at the moment. “I look at some of the communities we work with, where people are literally looking at you and thinking, ‘you know, this is not my problem right now. My bigger problem is to stay alive in the truest sense of the world and to feed myself and my family.’” said Cristine Stegling, executive director of Frontline AIDS. At the same time, Stegling added, Frontline AIDS made the conscious decision when it rebranded in 2019 to retain its specific focus on HIV as a reminder that ‘the epidemic is not over.’ In fact, COVID-19 has put HIV targets further out of reach. Even before the pandemic erupted last year, forcing lockdowns and disrupting health care services, the world was not on track to meet the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS — or UNAIDS — global HIV goals. Of particular concern was the rate of new infections, Beyrer said.” READ MORE

2/12/21: New tools to help end Pakistan’s HIV epidemic (samaa – pakistan)

“Like every other health programme, the provision of HIV services was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though progress was stalled, there was no disruption in treatment services, said Dr Isani [Deputy National Coordinator Common Management Unit AIDS]. ‘We started multi-month dispensing which helped greatly.’ This meant that medicine were dispensed every three months instead of monthly. Courier services were used to dispatch medicines and food supply. Healthcare staff was trained through virtual sessions. ‘Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is here, we need to gear up our act and head out again,’ said Dr Isani.” READ MORE

2/12/21: Predicted doubling of malaria deaths in Africa averted (devex)

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization predicted that malaria deaths in Africa could double if people’s access to malaria prevention programs and treatments were severely interrupted. ‘I am however delighted to say that the predicted doubling in malaria deaths was averted,’ said Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, during a press conference on Thursday. Instead, over 90% of planned net distribution campaigns went forward over the past year and more children in areas of highly seasonal transmission were reached with antimalarial medicines than in previous years, according to a press release. Around 160 million nets were distributed door-to-door, which was done in adherence with COVID-19 protocols, Kenyatta said.” READ MORE

2/12/21: Former United Nations envoy Stephen Lewis takes on Big Pharma (global news)

“’It’s really awful, particularly for a continent like Africa,’ [Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former ambassador to the United Nations] told me. ‘Health systems are being eroded. There’s not enough money for other infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Think of the economic disrepair that has resulted as low-income countries have their economies set back hugely by the impact of the lockdowns.’” READ MORE

2/12/21: Health Department ups ante on use of condom (The manila times – philippines)

“Department of Health Regional Director Cesar Cassion urged the community to participate and cooperate in stepping up efforts on prevention, testing, treatment, adherence and health education. ‘HIV is one of the critical public health programs that should continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Safe Love campaign, we challenge individuals and communities to do their share in ending this epidemic by practicing safe sex,’ he said.” READ MORE

2/12/21: Experts Worry About Pandemic’s Impact on Malaria Progress in Nigeria (voice of America – nigeria)

“A warning by the World Health Organization that the COVID-19 pandemic could harm efforts to eradicate malaria appears to be coming true in Nigeria. Nigerian officials say people are refusing to get treatment for fear of catching the virus at a clinic. Fatima Mohammed is in her home at a camp for displaced people in Abuja, tending to her two sons who are currently down with malaria. She says she’s can’t afford huge hospital bills and is afraid that taking them to the hospital could potentially expose them to COVID-19 or result in a misdiagnosis.” READ MORE

2/11/21: COVID-19 in africa: who urges vaccination as death toll rises (premium times)

“Because Africa has widespread health problems, it makes people of the continent ‘particularly susceptible’ to the virus; also, ‘of all the continents, Africa has the highest prevalence of certain underlying conditions like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS,’ the UN report said. Barely one year after this projection, the continent only accounts for 3.5 per cent of global COVID-19 cases and 4 per cent of global deaths, according to the WHO. While the African region is faring better compared to other regions, the pandemic has caused a harrowing economic impact which has triggered the continent’s first recession in 25 years, according to the World Bank.” READ MORE

2/10/21: transcript: A washington post live special; melinda and bill gates (the washington post)

“’Well, so we haven’t given up any of that other work. We are still full steam ahead. And all the money that you spoke about, that 1.75 billion, that’s all new money for COVID. But what we have to do is remind people that the world has been set back, immunizations have been rolled back during this time by the equivalent of 25 years in 25 weeks. You know, things like malaria, our work there has been set back for five years. So, we need to remind everybody we are a global community, and these issues matter as well. It’s not just COVID. We don’t want to leave anybody behind if we really believe in an equitable world, which we do as a foundation.’” READ MORE

2/10/21: HIV research has fast-tracked development of covid-19 vaccine – Prof Kaleebu (the observer – Uganda)

“Seeing the huge effort to get the COVID-19 vaccine within a year since the pandemic broke out, one wonders why such similar effort is not put into the fight against Malaria and HIV/AIDS, which kill more people annually than COVID-19. Some critics even suggest that it could be deliberate because malaria and HIV/AIDS have not ravaged western nations like COVID-19… There are a number of reasons why getting a COVID-19 vaccine has moved very fast. A lot of the technology has come from the investments put in research for the HIV/AIDS vaccine as well as other infections like malaria and tuberculosis.” READ MORE

2/10/21: making a mark on the covid-19 pandemic: joint efforts to meet the needs of young key populations in asia and the pacific (UNAIDS)

“Throughout the region, civil society organizations like Y-PEER Pilipinas began looking into ways of overcoming the barriers and challenges that prevent young people from accessing HIV services due to COVID-19 restrictions. For example, Y-PEER gained support from local governments with special travel passes to enable the delivery of antiretroviral therapy from the hospital straight to the doorsteps of young people living with HIV.” READ MORE

2/10/21: three pandemics, zero vaccines: NB aids workers take distressing calls from southern africa (

“Dr. Bernhard Kerschberger says there’s been a lot of pressure to put more resources into the COVID response. As project manager with Médecins Sans Frontières in Eswatini, Kerschberger has been occupied with HIV and the country’s high burden of tuberculosis. In 2011, the government declared TB a national emergency. ‘We can see it’s very difficult now for the health system to actually cope with this triple pandemic — HIV, TB and corona,’ said Kerschberger.” READ MORE

2/10/21: as covid-19 cases rise in nigeria, a government policy is creating crowds and chaos (cnn – Nigeria)

“Nigeria’s healthcare system was already fighting endemic diseases before the pandemic. The country accounted for over a fifth of global malaria deaths in 2019; northern Nigeria lies within the sub-Saharan “meningitis belt” and the nation has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. ‘COVID isn’t the biggest killer in Nigeria, but it has made healthcare more difficult,’ said Adebowale. ‘What it is doing to the health system can be compared to strangling an asthmatic patient.’” READ MORE

2/9/21: wapcas donates hiv diagnostic test kits to ghana health service (news ghana)

“The Ghana-West Africa Program to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS) with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Tuesday, donated HIV rapid diagnostic test kits worth 1.1 million dollars to the Ghana Health Service (GHS). The donation would help fill the stock-out gap of essential HIV Rapid Diagnostic Kits (RDT) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and also to help Ghana to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 3.3 aimed at ending AIDS as a public health threat.” READ MORE

2/9/21: Indoor mosquito spraying exercise to cost u.s. $36 million (the new times – Rwanda)

“THE ONGOING COVID-19 crisis will not deter the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), an exercise aimed at eliminating malaria-causing mosquitoes to a tune of a whopping $36 million. Indoor Residual Spraying involves the application of a residual insecticide to internal walls and ceilings of housing structures where malaria vectors may come into contact with the insecticide.” READ MORE

2/8/21: Inside Malawi’s Covid-19 wards, the impact of vaccine nationalism is all too clear (cnn)

“The coronavirus has also impacted health in Malawi indirectly, by scaring people away from seeking treatment for other issues. Many worry they won’t receive care from an overburdened staff, or worse that they will catch COVID-19 during their visit. After finishing her COVID-19 rounds for the day, [Dr Tamara] Phiri heads to one of the hospital’s general wards, to prep a final year student for his last internal medicine exam. He carefully exams the only patient in a row of empty cots, reporting back to Phiri. The general ward has more than sixty beds and is usually full of malaria cases and patients with chronic problems, but it is now largely empty. People are just too afraid to come to the hospital, Phiri says. ‘It is a disaster waiting to happen.’” READ MORE

2/8/21: ebola, covid-19 and the elusive quest for global health equity (forbes)

“‘I worry about this every morning, noon, and night, as I’m sure many others do. To see recent gains against AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, and other problems so imperiled by COVID-19 lockdowns and the ensuing recession is nothing short of heartbreaking. Then again, we have more tools to mitigate these disruptions than we did even a few decades ago, to say nothing of when the last big one occurred, in 1918. We just need to get these tools into deserts. As hard as this work is, I can’t point to a single example of a decently funded and well-planned health equity effort that hasn’t succeeded with sustained attention. And the more desiccated the medical desert, the greater the possibility for rapid change’.” READ MORE

2/7/21: burkina faso hospitals struggle with new wave of covid-19 (star tribune)

“Health experts worry that as COVID-19 cases and deaths rise, doctors and nurses will be diverted from treating patients with the country’s endemic diseases. ‘If this second wave of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the additional strain placed on Burkina’s health system, already weakened by the first wave and ongoing conflict, can likely increase disability and death from other causes such as malaria, malnutrition and other respiratory infections,’ said Donald Brooks, chief executive officer of Initiative: Eau, a U.S. aid group focused on water and sanitation that has been assisting in Burkina Faso’s pandemic response. Once it begins, the vaccine rollout will also likely use resources the country can’t afford to reallocate, he said.” READ MORE

2/6/21: SOUTH Africa looks at ‘innovative ways’ for screening and treating TB (the south african)

“The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa is being felt across the country in the homes of those who have lost loved ones, those suffering long-term complications, and those who have been victims of the financial fallout of the pandemic. Many health experts shared the same fears that one of the ways that COVID-19 would disproportionately affect South Africa’s poor would be through lack of access to TB and HIV treatment. Since the start of the outbreak, TB clinics in poor areas have been closed where there was a need to control the virus’s spread.” READ MORE

2/5/21: many south africans are living with undetected tb, survey finds (south africa)

“Meanwhile, government remains resolute to fight the disease amid the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the entire world. The Minister believes that advocacy work will need to adopt a multi-sectoral approach and partner with civil society, social partners and those in the communication sector to spread the word. In addition, the State will develop strategies to address stigma and discrimination. Mkhize, urged for the analysis of dynamics that resulted in findings that men above the age of 60 and between 35 and 44 are least able to access TB services. He further acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services, particularly, TB. ‘A lot of effort will be required to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 and still ensure that we attain our set targets,’ he said.” READ MORE

2/5/21: tens of thousands of people with tb in South Africa not diagnosed, survey (spotlight)

“Mkhize noted that the TB response suffered under COVID-19 but that the lessons learnt from the new pandemic can be used in the fight against TB. ‘We need to begin to look at how to integrate COVID, together with TB, because TB screening has suffered from a focus solely on COVID. Integration needs to be prioritised – a lot of work needs to be done,’ he said. Dr Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen, of the activist organisation TB Proof, in a press release noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic it was evident the difference high quality data on disease prevalence makes to inform a co-ordinated and targeted public health response. ‘We do not have the same quality data for TB, and based on the national TB prevalence survey, it seems like the true prevalence of TB is substantially higher (about 20%) than initially thought. Health workers and patients will benefit from knowing the exact extent of the TB pandemic, as it will help determine where the biggest gaps in care are and inform care seeking behaviour,’ she said.” READ MORE

2/5/21: South Africa looks to curb TB infections amid COVID-19 disruptions (reuters – south africa)

“As COVID-19 pummelled South Africa since first being detected in March last year, many TB clinics in poor communities closed temporarily due to contamination. People were banned from public transport during lockdown restrictions while others stayed indoors for fear of catching the coronavirus. A disease of the poor, TB is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria and is spread easily in shantytowns where a simple cough helps fuel the preventable disease. ‘The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services and TB in particular is well documented. A lot of effort will be required to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19,’ Health Minister Zweli Mhkize said at the release of a national TB prevalence survey carried out between 2017 and 2019.” READ MORE

2/4/21: why africa is now better prepared to beat covid-19 (premium times – nigeria)

“’There is a strong argument for [vaccinating primary health care givers first] because they are not just caregivers for COVID patients but also caregivers to patients with other diseases like malaria, HIV, TB. If we allow COVID-19 to affect our health workers, then we run into a big risk of our health system collapsing because they constitute the backbone and we have a limited number of them. For a continent of 1.3 billion people, we have only about three million health workers; that is not a lot and we have to protect them jealously.’ [John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC]” READ MORE

2/4/21: The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on HIV care in 65 South African primary care clinics: an interrupted time series analysis (the lancet hiv – south africa)

“Our findings suggest that, in one of the regions most affected by both HIV and COVID-19, the worst modelled scenarios of the impact of COVID-19 on HIV are unlikely to play out. We did not find evidence of large disruptions to ART provision, which is the main driver of morbidity and mortality in published models. Instead, efforts to continue providing treatment to people in the ART programme appear to have been largely successful. Although this evidence is reassuring, COVID-19-related disruptions to ART supply chains and future COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns still pose a threat to HIV programmes. Furthermore, our findings suggest that people who are not yet in HIV care were most affected by the lockdown. As countries in Africa consolidate health systems after the first wave of COVID-19, and manage potential second waves, efforts to catch-up with HIV testing and initiation of ART should be prioritised.” READ MORE

2/4/21: new malaria-carrying mosquito poses major threat to african cities (global citizen)

“With the global community currently fighting the infectious disease COVID-19, the appearance of a new malaria-carrying mosquito species is especially concerning. The pandemic exposed the inequalities in accessing health care and how easily health infrastructure can be overwhelmed by the spread of infectious disease.” READ MORE

2/3/21: COVID-19 Outcomes Among Persons Living With or Without Diagnosed HIV Infection in New York State (jama network open)

“In a cohort study of linked statewide HIV diagnosis, COVID-19 laboratory diagnosis, and hospitalization databases, persons living with an HIV diagnosis were more likely to receive a diagnosis of, be hospitalized with, and die in-hospital with COVID-19 compared with those not living with an HIV diagnosis. After demographic adjustment, COVID-19 hospitalization remained significantly elevated for individuals with an HIV diagnosis and was associated with elevated mortality.” READ MORE

2/3/21: a new tb preventive therapy aims to increase patient compliance (devex)

“Though TB is both preventable and treatable, it is one of the top 10 causes of death globally. It was the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent until it was overtaken by COVID-19. In 2019, 10 million people suffered from TB, and close to 1.5 million people — over 95% of whom were living in lower- and middle-income nations — died due to the disease. ‘Right now, COVID is killing more people — but for maybe the first six months of the pandemic TB was killing more people than COVID. But nobody speaks about TB,’ said Emilio Jose Valverde, Aurum Institute country director in Mozambique.” READ MORE

2/3/21: Global Fund engages partners to develop new strategy (relieweb)

“More than 300 representatives from across the world convened virtually today to kick off the Partnership Forums, a series of consultations to help shape the next multi-year Global Fund strategy. The Partnership Forums are unique in the global health sector, providing a broad and inclusive platform for representatives from all Global Fund implementers, partners and people affected by diseases to discuss the organization’s future strategic direction. Key areas of focus include how the Global Fund can strengthen its impact and contribution to the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goal targets for HIV, TB, malaria, build strong community and health systems, increase focus on equity, human rights, gender and the most vulnerable, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which threatens to reverse the health gains of the last two decades.” READ MORE

2/3/21: Nigeria’s early adoption of differentiated services delivery model buffers effect of covid-19 pandemic among people living with HIV (Reliefweb – Nigeria)

“As the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum across the world with many countries, including Nigeria going on lockdown, there arose fears that the people living with HIV (PLHIV) might not have access to Antiretroviral (ARTs). The fears of the outbreak disrupting ARTs supplies to PLHIV in Nigeria was, however, not as devastating because the country had already adopted the Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) model in December, 2019. The gains of the model became noticeable during the imposed lockdown by the government.” READ MORE

2/3/21: Turning the tide for women and girls caught in the cabo delgado crisis (Reliefweb – Mozambique)

“While the number of displaced people continues to surge, protection risks are exacerbated by pre-existing vulnerabilities, including poverty, marginalization, and harmful social and gender norms, such as child marriage. COVID-19 has compounded the problem: critical services such as sexual and reproductive health care, immunization activities, and continuity of care for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and cholera have been disrupted due to restrictions on movement and gatherings, as well as disruptions to livelihoods.” READ MORE

2/2/21: African nations lead the world in offering PrEP HIV prevention drug (new scientist)

“[Kate] Segal [AVAC] says there are still opportunities to expand access in [sub-Saharan Africa], such as making PrEP available at local pharmacies and other outlets, and informing the public about the drug. ‘Many of the general population still don’t know that PrEP exists or what it is or how to access it. So we really need to normalise it and increase demand,’ she says. John Nkengasong at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may hamper these efforts. ‘COVID-19 has impacted all our health programmes, not just HIV. I suspect that there’ll be a lot of effect on PrEP initiations in Africa this year,’ he says. ‘We know and we anticipate that there will be harm to our HIV and other programmes.’’’ READ MORE

2/1/21: Potential Disruptions in HIV, TB, and Malaria Response due to COVID-19 (contagion live)

“…during the Ebola outbreak in 2014/2016, all eyes were on the impact of this hemorrhagic fever, which often led to neglect of other health outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that there were over 10,000 additional deaths due to untreated conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone alone. In terms of other infectious diseases, the CDC found 1,091 additional deaths due to HIV, 2,714 additional estimated deaths due to tuberculosis, and 6,818 additional deaths due to malaria. These same concerns are being raised for COVID-19 and the potential impact on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in low-income and middle-income countries.” READ MORE

2/1/21: Updating WHO’s global strategy for malaria (world health organization)

“Despite the remarkable gains seen in driving down malaria cases and deaths over the last 2 decades, progress in recent years has levelled off, and many high burden countries are losing ground. The emergence of the COVID-pandemic in 2020 has posed a serious additional challenge to malaria responses worldwide. Urgent and concerted action is needed to change the global trajectory of the disease. Addressing participants in the webinar, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, noted that while meeting the strategy’s 2030 targets would be a challenge, malaria-endemic countries and partners must remain firm in their commitment to achieving them.” READ MORE

2/1/21: africa in better place now to beat covid-19 scare – CDC boss (premium times)

“The need to prioritize health workers for vaccination is key if Africa is to succeed in the war against the virus as Mr Nkengasong noted: ‘There is a strong argument for that because they are not just caregivers for COVID patients but also caregivers to patients with other diseases like malaria, HIV, TB. If we allow COVID to affect our health workers then we run into a big risk of our health system collapsing because they constitute the backbone and we have a limited number of them. For a continent of 1.3 billion people, we have only about 3 million health workers; that is not a lot and we have to protect them jealously.’” READ MORE

2/1/21: updating who’s global strategy for malaria (mirage news)

“Despite the remarkable gains seen in driving down malaria cases and deaths over the last two decades, progress in recent years has levelled off, and many high burden countries are losing ground. The emergence of the COVID-pandemic in 2020 has posed a serious additional challenge to malaria responses worldwide. Urgent and concerted action is needed to change the global trajectory of the disease. Addressing participants in the webinar, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, noted that while meeting the strategy’s 2030 targets would be a challenge, malaria-endemic countries and partners must remain firm in their commitment to achieving them.” READ MORE

2/1/21: UNICEF Burundi humanitarian situation report no.4 (reliefweb)

“The epidemiological situation in Burundi has remained a focus throughout 2020 with episodes of cholera, a relatively high incidence of malaria and measles cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country in March and while trends have been relatively low, a worrying increase in the number of cases has been reported at the end of the year.” READ MORE

1/28/21: New amfAR Grants Target Intersection of HIV and COVID-19 (amFAr)

“Since the emergence of the pandemic, researchers have expressed concern regarding COVID outcomes among people living with HIV (PWH). After an extensive analysis of more than 4,500 coronavirus research papers covering the first six months of the pandemic, an amfAR team led by Vice President and Director of Research, Dr. Rowena Johnston, concluded that PWH were not at increased risk of either hospitalization or death. ‘The effects of COVID-19 on people living with HIV has been a driving concern for us,’ said Dr. Johnston. ‘We look forward to finding answers to the next set of issues concerning longer-term consequences of co-infection and how these may impact future care.’” READ MORE

1/28/21: COVID 19 and the consequences in the fight against HIV (European Sting)

“Access to health at the time of being an HIV positive person is interrupted by the social stigma that makes us believe that we do not all have the same right to reproductive and sexual health and today, in addition to stigma, there is a disruption in HIV treatments, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that challenges every health care professional to rethink the way we are trying to solve this disease, with a notable lack of medical supplies, few personnel for counseling and halting of prenatal care plans for HIV-positive mothers.” READ MORE

1/28/21: UWI, health ministry sign MOU to govern operations of Health Connect Jamaica (jamaica observer – jamaica)

“Jason Fraser, country director, USAID’s PEPFAR said, ‘Despite the coronavirus, gains made are being sustained with progress toward the acceleration of HIV epidemic control in Jamaica. However, the infrastructural and human resource constraints will require alternative health care delivery models to address the health care needs of the population. The current partnership between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and The [University of the West Indies (UWI)] provides an opportunity to address these concerns in a manner that eases the burden on public facilities while providing affordable and accessible care to people living with HIV in Jamaica.’” READ MORE

1/28/21: Malaria: Poverty, Govt’s Neglect Endanger Pregnant Women’s Lives (new telegraph – nigeria)

“Malaria cases are projected to rise against the backdrop of service disruptions occasioned by coronavirus pandemic. According to the RBM [Partnership To End Malaria], giving at least three doses of quality-assured SP to all eligible women in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, can increase the coverage and uptake of [intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp)] by 2025. Highlighting some of the challenges of services for preventing malaria in pregnancy in the country, the Malaria Technical Director, [National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP)] at the [Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH)], Mokuolu, said late registration for antenatal care is a huge hindrance.” READ MORE

1/28/21: covid-19 situation report (the global fund)

“The Global Fund has awarded $980 million to 106 countries and 14 multicountry programs to support their responses to COVID-19, but has now fully deployed all its funding for this purpose. Forecasted funding gap is now US$313 million. There are significant further needs for immediate funding, including for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and treatment, and to mitigate the impact on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs. To defeat COVID-19, the Global Fund advocates a comprehensive approach that brings together testing, treatments, vaccines and the health systems and medical supplies to make it happen – vaccines alone will not be enough.” READ MORE

1/28/21: will global health learn from covid-19 collateral damage? (Devex)

“COVID-19 killed an estimated 1.8 million people in 2020, but the number of deaths due to tuberculosis won’t be available until October 2021, said Peter Sands, executive director at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. He estimated that 1.5 million people died of tuberculosis in 2020 but said the infectious disease does not get ‘the kind of money and attention’ COVID-19 does. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis by as much as 25%-30% in some high-burden countries, Sands said, adding that there have been similarly devastating impacts on HIV/AIDS and malaria.” READ MORE

1/28/21: scientists warn africa off 2030 target in hiv rates reduction (the east african)

“A modelling by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that if efforts are not made to mitigate and overcome interruptions brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic, a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy (ARTs) could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths from HIV/Aids-related illnesses, including from tuberculosis, in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 and 2021. These interruptions could effectively set the clock on Aids-related deaths back to 2008, when more than 950,000 such deaths were observed in the region.” READ MORE

1/27/21: Africa: Additional funding urgently needed as the global fund runs out of covid-19 funding (AIDSPAN – Nairobi)

“The Global Fund has disbursed close to $1 billion to support the COVID-19 response and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria programs. The institution recently announced that it had fully deployed all the funds to 106 countries and more than ten multi-country programs. However, it still has to honor country requests amounting to over $355 million, which is likely to increase as more countries submit their requests.” READ MORE

1/27/21: south african scientists discover new chemicals that kill malaria parasite (the himalayan times)

“The World Health Organisation said in November that deaths from malaria due to disruption during the coronavirus pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria killed more than 400,000 people across the world in 2019, according to the latest WHO figures, all but a few thousand of them in Africa. There were 229 million cases across the world, 215 million of them on the continent.” READ MORE

1/27/21: from food coupons to a fund to provide laptops and tablets to the poor – NITI Aayog’s public policy analyst has a whishlist too (Business insider India)

“While India has fared much better on COVID-19 management than most would expect, the outbreak has also shone a spotlight on the underlying gaps and inequities in the health system in terms of access to and quality of physical infrastructure, human resources as well as drugs and medical devices. Further, the lockdown, which was a necessary response for gearing up the health system to respond to COVID-19, resulted in disruptions to some essential services in areas like maternal and child health, tuberculosis, and non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiac ailments and chronic kidney disease.” READ MORE

1/27/21: Promising breakthroughs in hiv prevention (africanews)

“A once-monthly pill intake has shown promising results in the quest to prevent HIV infections, scientists have said. Islatravir is the first oral drug in phase three development for HIV prevention and treatment. At the ongoing virtual session of the HIV research for prevention conference, scientists expressed optimism that the drug will appeal to persons at risk of the virus. ‘COVID-19 has disrupted research around the world, so it’s especially exciting to see this new progress,’ President of the International Aid Society, Adeeba Kamarulzaman said. She added that ‘These research advances on options like broadly neutralizing antibodies and injectable PrEP could help significantly strengthen our HIV prevention toolkit.’” READ MORE

1/26/21: Q&A: How COVID-19 is impacting hiv care in Asia-pacific (devex)

“In the Philippines, there’s been a more than 70% delay or reduction in the number of visits to HIV clinics since the arrival of COVID-19, according to a survey conducted by Gilead Sciences and partners. Restrictions on mobility as a result of the pandemic were blamed. As a result, 64% of individuals at-risk reported a decrease in testing and more than half reported having either decreased or stopped taking their preventive medications.” READ MORE

1/26/21: Botswana: Ngamiland records 104 malaria cases (Daily News –Botswana)

“Dr. Maripe- Ebutswe said malaria was a deadly disease which needed collective efforts. She decried shortage of resources to fight malaria pandemic noting that recorded cases had stressed their little resources as malaria needed contact tracing just like COVID-19 pandemic.” READ MORE 

1/26/21: Humanitarian crises monitoring: Coronavirus in developing countries: Secondary impacts (Relief web)

“Routine immunisation programmes, such as measles, polio and diphtheria, are all stalling, with 70% of countries reporting disruption to routine immunisation. It was also estimated that 11.5 million people were affected by disruptions to anti-retroviral services for HIV/AIDS between April and June last year. It is alarming that progress over recent decades in tackling these healthcare challenges appeared to be unravelling. Tackling COVID-19 was diverting funding, exhausting staff, absorbing resources, and scaring off patients with other illnesses from accessing healthcare.” READ MORE

1/26/21: Covid destruction could lead to total reshaping of sub-Saharan Africa healthcare (the new times – rwanda)

“’Mosquitos don’t practise social distancing, they don’t wear masks either’ says Bill Gates. As COVID-19 spread around the globe it’s important to remember that deadly mosquito-borne diseases like malaria haven’t taken a break during this pandemic.’ According to the WHO (World Health Organization), Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden and in 2019, the region was home to 94% of global malaria cases and deaths. The continent has been in a decades-long battle with the disease, and since 2000 1.5 billion cases and 7.6 million malaria deaths have been averted through the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying. And then came COVID-19. In the World Malaria Report 2020, the WHO says that 20 years worth of progress is now hampered by the global pandemic, the global 2020 target for reducing malaria cases will be missed by 37% and the mortality reduction target will be missed by 22%. This means millions of patients, and hundreds of thousands of mortalities.” READ MORE

1/25/21: What the global response to HIV/AIDS can teach us about Covid-19 recovery – and social justice (maverick citizen)

“The HIV epidemic remains in a critical condition where gains can still be rolled back. Too many have lost their lives in the process, and continue to lose their lives. However, we have come far from the scenarios of its manifold and devastating impacts at the turn of the century. Many people owe their survival to the activism and professionalism shown by HIV advocates from the abovementioned communities and their allies. There can be no doubt that they have been the real leaders of the 21st century… We need to return to the global HIV/AIDS response and make its diverse lessons a building block in securing a better trajectory through this century, including in COVID-19 recovery.” READ MORE

1/25/21: COVID-19 and global hunger: a Zimbabwe case study (anglican journal – zimbabwe)

“In recent years important strides have been made in eliminating extreme poverty. However, these gains were significantly stunted in 2020 by the global pandemic. Hunger, malnutrition and lack of access to medication for HIV or malaria due to supply chain and transport deficiencies are all cruel side effects of the deadly coronavirus.” READ MORE

1/25/21: HIV prevention research and COVID-19: putting ethics guidance to the test (Biomed central Medical Ethics)

“There are reasons to believe that HIV prevention research is in no way being made redundant by the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the ethics of setting priorities in global health research is complex; in this case, it is simply not clear to what extent research resources should allocated to a novel, highly infectious disease like COVID-19 rather than more longstanding ones (like HIV or TB) associated with high mortality. Currently, part of the complexity relates to the fact that COVID-19 is likely having a detrimental impact on HIV services, including prevention services, in many countries around the world.” READ MORE

1/25/21: Community health workers must be better supported in 2021, the Year of the Healthcare Worker (ein News)

“’All health workers are important, but [community health workers (CHWs)] particularly so, because they work on the frontlines and often receive the least amount of attention, education, capabilities-building and remuneration – yet in the global pandemic we put so much pressure on them to go actively seek out those people who’ve been infected. They carry a burden like a mother, because they go out there and look after their communities, even when it is hard. They are the essence of where fighting disease begins, at grassroots level,’ says Ilona Smart, Client Director at Vantage Health Technologies – part of BroadReach Group. Smart said many CHWs had to be redirected from TB, HIV and other serious conditions in 2020 towards COVID-19, which had become the greatest public health crisis of the year.” READ MORE

1/23/21: AMU medical team pulls out all stops for vaccine trial (the hindu – india)

“Describing the Bharat Biotech vaccine as a desi (indigenous) tool that is likely to succeed in Indian conditions, Prof. Shameem, who works in the TB and Chest Diseases Department, said, as the vaccine uses the whole dead virus, it was likely to cover mutations. ‘Had I not gotten infected with the virus in June, I would have taken the vaccine as well,’ he said. However, he cautioned, that the pandemic should not take away the focus off tuberculosis. ‘While fighting COVID-19, our goal to eradicate tuberculosis should not get lost.’ he warned.” READ MORE

1/23/21: Fauci announces US intention to resume major role in global health (saudi gazette)

“Addressing the WHO executive, Dr. Fauci also announced US plans to work with other countries ‘to counter the erosion of major gains in global health,’ specifying HIV/AIDS, food security, malaria and epidemic preparedness. ‘It will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally,’ the US official added.” READ MORE

1/21/21: Deepening Malaria Elimination Fight Despite COVID-19 (new telegraph – nigeria)

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 hindered many people with complicated malaria and the not-so-severe cases, from accessing care in facilities during peak of the coronavirus lockdown from April to June 2020. Most patients, including those who suffered malaria infection, [were] deliberately kept away from hospitals. With inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella association of medical doctors in the country, advised its members to view every medical case in hospitals as potential COVID-19 case. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. From then onwards, seeking care at public facilities, which was affordable for many less privileged and low-income citizens, became like a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Those were the days when the ordeal of malaria patients and those seeking care for other ailments, was not pleasant; while some resorted to ignoring medical care, others chose self-medication, both with dare consequences.” READ MORE

1/21/21: Change Financing Priorities to Address COVID-19, Conference Hears (inter press service new agency)

“’The onset of COVID-19 pandemic affected the implementation of the [International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)] 25 programme of action on several fronts. First, there was a significant diversion and stretching of limited human, material, and financial resources to respond to the pandemic,’ [Dr Ademola Olajide, country representative, UNFPA Kenya Office] said. Simultaneously, ‘mixed messaging’ resulted in communities not fully understanding the pandemic, and as a result, many avoided utilising facilities. Curfews and lockdowns significantly impacted essential maternal and child health services, family planning, HIV and GBV wellness services. There were also livelihood challenges with people losing their jobs and income. Adequate protection measures within school systems to monitor teenage pregnancies, FGM, GBV was significantly disrupted. Vulnerable populations began to be pushed further to the back in terms of development, he said.” READ MORE

1/20/21: progress towards ending tb at risk (reliefweb)

“While the COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency, there is another infectious airborne disease that has at best similar or arguably worse impacts and is inextricably linked to poverty and lack of access to health care – tuberculosis (TB).” READ MORE

1/20/21: centering the hiv response on adolescent girls key to meeting targets in africa (devex)

“Though UNAIDS says that the global AIDS response was off track before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the organization found that the spread of COVID-19 has created additional setbacks. As a result, there could be an estimated 123,000 to 293,000 additional new HIV infections and 69,000 to 148,000 additional AIDS-related deaths between 2020 and 2022.” READ MORE

1/17/21: India’s COVID-19 inoculation drive will be one of the biggest and fastest in the world. Here’s how they are doing it (ABC News – india)

“There are concerns the COVID-19 inoculation drive will undermine other important health and immunisation programs. For example, health experts suspect the number of tuberculosis cases last year halved because detection equipment was diverted to help the fight against COVID-19. India has also postponed its 2021 polio vaccination drive, citing ‘unforeseen circumstances.’ ‘In programs like the [tuberculosis] elimination program, some of the gains that have been done over decades might be reversed,’ [Epidemiologist Giridhar Babu from the Public Health Foundation of India] warned.” READ MORE

1/17/21: Dr. Fauci fears about vaccine’s efficacy against SOUTH African variant (the news international)

“[Dr. Anthony Fauci] said after the outbreak of coronavirus, the persons living with HIV among other infections suffered direct as well as indirect consequences of the pandemic outbreak. Under indirect effects of COVID-19, Dr. Fauci predicted the deaths due to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria over five years could increase by up to 10%, 20% and 36% respectively compared with time of before COVID-19 pandemic. The disruptions due to COVID-19 led to decline in ART services by 32% in 101 nations; malaria diagnosis and treatment by 46% in 68 nations; and TB cases detection and treatment by 42% in 101 nations..” READ MORE

1/17/21: What India Can Learn From Covid-19 To Build A Healthier Nation (forbes – india)

“’India let the fear of Covid-19 disrupt general healthcare services in a way that was avoidable,’ said Oommen Kurian, a health expert with the Observer Research Foundation. ‘India’s preparedness could have been significantly boosted had the foundation of a robust public health system existed,’ said Urvashi Prasad, a public policy expert at Niti Aayog. ‘The widely prevalent fear, stigma and paranoia associated with Covid-19 is likely to have long-term psychological sequelae,’ said Lance Pinto, a pulmonologist at the Hinduja Hospital. Stigma also reduced testing for other diseases such as TB. ‘A plan to run non-Covid clinics would have helped people to a great extent,’ said Vijayashree Yellappa, a public health expert, and fellow at Niti Aayog.” READ MORE

1/14/21: Airlines, Caribbean scrambling after CDC orders COVID-19 test for US travel (bradenton herald – haiti)

“’Even if we were to have all three labs fully operational, and if we were only doing travelers, which mean we would not be able to do patients who are symptomatic…it may still not be sufficient,’ [Dr. Jean William Pape, leading infectious disease specialist in Haiti said]. New laboratories would need to be opened, he said, and in turn require both equipment and trained staff. ‘[The COVID-19 test] is a sophisticated test; you cannot take any technician who is doing their job quite well for other tests to do this test,’ Pape added. ‘We still have [Tuberculosis] that’s also a cause of concern so we cannot move technicians who can do the test for TB, to do it for COVID. We have a human resources limitation. It’s going to be very stressful.’” READ MORE

1/14/21: Tukkies discovers new chemical that has potential to eliminate malaria (independent online – south africa)

“Last month, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) warned that, with special attention being paid to Covid-19, malaria care was declining. The institute said it was mandatory to test anyone presenting with flu-like symptoms, especially those who live in a malaria endemic area or have travelled to those areas. ‘Regardless of suspected Covid-19 conditions, pending Covid-19 tests or even a positive Covid-19 test, using a rapid diagnostic test or blood smear microscopy can obtain results urgently. Malaria should be considered in a patient with a progressively worsening febrile illness of unknown cause even if (there is) no travel history to a malaria endemic area,’ NICD said.” READ MORE

1/13/21: Africa: COVID-19 could cause a million excess deaths from these 3 diseases (world economic forum)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened Africa’s already fragile health services raising concerns over excess deaths from other diseases. A 50% disruption to anti-malaria treatment could result in 100,000 additional deaths, according to the WHO. Tuberculosis could result in up to 400,000 excess deaths, while AIDS-related deaths could go back to levels not seen since 2008.” READ MORE

1/12/21: Global fund signs a record-breaking $8.54 billion in grants to fight HIV, TB and malaria (The Global Fund)

“‘This is an exceptional achievement that will help more than 100 countries continue the critical fight against HIV, TB and malaria – epidemics that kill more than 2.3 million people every year,’ said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. ‘As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms health systems around the world, it is now more important than ever that we ensure countries have the resources they need to fight HIV, TB and malaria and to strengthen the systems for health needed to respond to all four diseases.’” READ MORE

1/11/21: Y+ global launches covid-19 fund to support young people living with Hiv (economist- Namibia)

“Communities of people living with HIV have been at the forefront of the community-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of that response, the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+ Global), with support from UNAIDS, has launched the Y+ Social Aid Fund for young people living with HIV.” READ MORE

1/11/21: New loan guarantee facility unlocks over $30M to shore up private sector health care in five african countries during covid-19 (the rockefeller foundation)

“Private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50 percent of all healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, including life-saving interventions such as early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations. If left unaddressed, these vital health needs could overwhelm already overburdened health systems and add to the loss of life during the pandemic. Projections in 2020, for example, estimated that moderate disruptions in treatment seeking could lead to as many as 100,000 additional malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. As countries have shut down sectors of their economies and asked citizens to remain at home to slow the spread of Covid-19, all health providers have seen a decrease in demand for services. For private healthcare providers, this also means decreased revenues, putting them at risk of closing during a time when access to care is already a challenge.” READ MORE

1/11/21: COVID-19 depletes attention to HIV, tuberculosis, others (pulse – nigeria)

“The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, has lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector, citing the neglect it had caused to the care and attention given to HIV, tuberculosis and other ailments.” READ MORE

1/10/21: Campaign brings out undetected tb cases (The Pioneer – India)

“The State’s ‘catch-up’ campaign to detect tuberculosis cases that may have gone undiagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic between June and August, screened over six lakh people, tested 29,166 and diagnosed 802 people with tuberculosis (TB) between October and December 2020. The dip in tuberculosis cases detected between June and August 2020, when compared to figures as part of the Akshaya Keralam project.” READ MORE

1/7/21: Accessing the syndemic of covid-19 and malaria intervention in africa (infectious diseases of poverty)

“The pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused substantial disruptions to health services in the low and middle-income countries with a high burden of other diseases, such as malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on malaria transmission potential in malaria-endemic countries in Africa.” READ MORE

1/7/21: Covid makes matters worse for tb patients (The Pioneer – India)

“A patient with Covid-19 symptoms was brought to Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow last week. He was also suffering from TB and his lungs were in poor shape. He died within 24 hours of admission to the hospital. These are not solitary cases as TB and HIV patients have been the prime victims during the unlock period.” READ MORE

1/7/21: south africa to get vaccines for health workers this month (bloomberg)

“Mkhize’s plan will require about 6,300 full-time vaccinators, delivering 316,000 doses a day, he said. After health workers, a second phase will prioritize essential workers and adults with co-morbidities, such as HIV, tuberculosis and obesity.” READ MORE

1/6/21: Responding to neglected crises in the Sahel (doctors without borders)

“MSF supported local COVID-19 responses in all six countries, but our focus remains on other emergencies, including seasonal peaks of malaria, mental health needs, malnutrition, and the increase in violence and displacement.” READ MORE

1/5/21 Indonesia must not stop malaria fight, despite COVID-19 (Jakarta Post)

“The Y+ Social Aid Fund will be piloted in Nigeria and Malawi, where, with the support of national networks of young people living with HIV ,Y+ Global will offer financial support to young people living with HIV who have been impacted by COVID-19-related restrictions.” READ MORE

1/5/21 Y+ Global launches COVID-19 fund to support young people living with HIV (UNAIDS)

“The Y+ Social Aid Fund will be piloted in Nigeria and Malawi, where, with the support of national networks of young people living with HIV ,Y+ Global will offer financial support to young people living with HIV who have been impacted by COVID-19-related restrictions.” READ MORE

1/2/21: A New Strain of Drug-Resistant Malaria Has Sprung Up in Africa (Scientific American)

“We must act now to increase surveillance and monitoring for signs of new K13 mutations, even as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to basic tactics like increasing people’s access to insecticide-treated mosquito nets, here’s what can help make a difference.” READ MORE

1/1/21: Tuberculosis and malaria in the age of COVID-19 (The Lancet Infectious Diseases)

“The bottom line is that while health-care workers in endemic countries have battled exceptionally hard on three fronts, policy makers cannot forget that tuberculosis and malaria are greater long-term threats than COVID-19, and planning of resource allocation must account for that.” READ MORE

1/1/21: HIV infection and COVID-19 death: a population-based cohort analysis of UK primary care data and linked national death registrations within the OpenSAFELY platform (The Lancet HIV)

“People with HIV in the UK seem to be at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality. Targeted policies should be considered to address this raised risk as the pandemic response evolves.” READ MORE

12/31/20: Even as COVID-19 is still around, tuberculosis remains India’s biggest health crisis ( – India)

“With similar clinical symptoms, TB and Covid-19 present a deadly mix for India’s health system. TB, though curable, remains India’s severest health crisis killing over 1,200 Indians daily with delays in diagnosis, treatment, access and possibly increased suffering, mental health issues for those affected.” READ MORE

12/30/20: HIV and COVID-19: What Do We Know Now? (POZ)

“Larger studies suggest people living with HIV might have a modestly higher risk of severe COVID-19, but much remains to be learned.” READ MORE

12/29/20: Inside the fight to include HIV-positive people in Covid-19 vaccine trials (NBC News)

“[Dr. Larry Corey] said there was never ‘any worry’ in the advocacy world that people successfully managing their HIV infections on antiretroviral therapy would have bad responses to the COVID-19 vaccine. Other experts at the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS, the British HIV Association and Aidsmap have also said the COVID-19 vaccine should be considered safe and effective for people with HIV.” READ MORE

12/28/20: Malaria Prevention Pushes Forward in Africa Despite Pandemic (Undark)

“The COVID-19 pandemic will still leave a mark when it comes to malaria. While the worst of the model predictions may not unfold, Africa is still likely to see an increase in malaria deaths according to the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, a group with more than 500 partners including the WHO.” READ MORE

12/28/20: How The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Impacted People With HIV In Sub-Saharan Africa (Forbes)

“The prevalence of HIV is significantly higher in sub-Saharan Africa and the availability of ART is lower. Because of these differences, the effects of Covid-19 on people living with HIV could be greater.” READ MORE

12/22/20: In UK study, people with HIV at increased risk for death from COVID-19 (Healio)

“A study of more than 17 million people in England revealed that those living with HIV had a higher risk for death from COVID-19 than people without HIV.” READ MORE

12/18/20: Resurgence of COVID-19 could result in more malaria deaths – Nigerian govt (daily post – nigeria)

“The Federal Ministry of Health has raised alarm over the threat of an increase in mortality rates associated with malaria, especially as the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak looms in Nigeria. The government also warned against disruptions in the provision of services, lamenting that the fear and stigma associated with COVID-19 has continued to hinder free access to malaria treatment and care. Prof[essor] Olugbenga Mokuolu, a Technical Director at the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, who raised these concerns at a media dialogue, explained that the pandemic threatens to undermine gains made in malaria control, following disruptions in supply chains, interventions and diversion of government resources to coronavirus.” READ MORE

12/18/20: ‘Let’s Cut New HIV Infections’ (the herald – zimbabwe)

“[Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga] said Covid-19 had derailed meeting the HIV targets by 2020. ‘Here in Zimbabwe, Covid-19 has been with us since March 2020 and has resulted in the country instituting containment measures, including lockdowns to try and mitigate the spread and impact of Covid-19,’ he said. ‘This pandemic resulted in collateral damage as essential services for women and children were negatively impacted. Our womenfolk must visit health care facilities to receive antenatal care and delivery services to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Children should also receive post-delivery care.’” READ MORE

12/17/20: Gates Foundation’s Total Commitment to Global COVID-19 Response (this day – nigeria)

“’We will also be really helping countries with the preparation – what do you do in terms of the vaccine delivery infrastructure that’s needed, how can you help build that in a way that’s actually going to help support wider primary health care needs across Africa and Asia, and other parts of the developing world. We know that, while COVID-19 is an acute crisis, it is certainly not the only crisis, and Africa in particular still suffers from a range of continued health challenges. From HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis, we’ve seen a drop off in regular vaccination rate and we’ve seen the wider economic impact of COVID and we need to be tackling all of those at the same time’ [Bill Gates].” READ MORE

12/17/20: Malaria Prevention – 13 Million Children Reached in 9 States – Govt (leadership (Abuja) – nigeria)

“On Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), [National Coordinator, NMEP, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed] informed that the programme had planned to replace over 31.5 million ITNs to cover 56.7 million people across eleven states of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Enugu, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Osun, and Zamfara. Except for States without donor support like Bayelsa, Borno, Enugu and FCT. However, he said over 17 million ITNs were distributed in the six states with some achieving the 95vper cent target. On challenges, he identified stigma and fear that tended to hinder individuals from attending health facilities as part of the challenges. Others, according to him were ‘Abiding by preventive guidelines motorists decreased number of passengers and increased the transport fares further alienating some who could not afford the charges. Health workers required additional resources to protect themselves from COVID-19. Impact of the lock down on access to interventions. Supplies of commodities suffered severe disruptions with several health facilities experiencing stock-outs for relatively long times.’” READ MORE

12/16/20: AHF Applauds Canada for Contribution to Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response (business wire)

“’COVID-19 has been devastating on its own, but it’s also endangering progress made in battling HIV, TB and malaria—particularly in developing countries,’ said [AIDS Healthcare Foundation] President Michael Weinstein. ‘And while there are still many countries not stepping up to help developing nations, Canada is setting the example by supporting those who truly need it. We applaud this significant contribution by Canada to the Global Fund’s efforts and encourage other countries to follow its lead.’ In addition to being invaluable in maintaining precious progress made in battling the three infectious diseases—the Global Fund has been instrumental in getting relief to developing countries for their respective COVID-19 responses. Since the pandemic’s onset, it has provided $825 million to more than 100 countries to protect health workers, adapt lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs, and support fragile health systems. The Fund has also provided 33 million novel coronavirus tests and 73 million daily kits of personal protective equipment for health workers.” READ MORE

12/16/20: PMC’s TB drive detects 79 new patients in just 15 days (hindustan times – india)

“The detection of TB cases is part of campaign which usually starts in October but could not be started this year. The campaign included detection of ‘hidden’ cases through their door-to-door survey and will be conducted in two phases. In the first half of the month the detection campaign will be active while in the second half the detected and confirmed patients would be followed up for treatment and medication. Dr Sanjay Dabhade from Jan Aarogya Manch and a public health activist said, ‘It is a welcome step that [Punjab Maharashtra cooperative (PMC)] is considering the drive. Due to lack of attention due to the Covid19 pandemic on other ailments could mean that the mortality rate because of other ailments could go higher. With respect to tuberculosis, we need to study if the use of masks due to Covid lead to any prevention of TB too which is another respiratory ailment.’” READ MORE

12/15/20: support needed community-led hiv programs west and central africa (doctors without borders)

“As the West and Central Africa (WCA) region continues to lag behind in the HIV/AIDS response—leading to people with HIV going without antiretroviral therapy (ARV) treatment—the support of donor countries like the US for community-led HIV interventions is key to reaching people with the virus and improving public health. In 2019, WCA accounted for 21 percent of new HIV infections worldwide and 30 percent of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. Adolescent girls and young women remain particularly at risk of acquiring HIV as they accounted for 58 percent of the estimated 240,000 new infections in the region the same year.” READ MORE

12/15/20: Global Funding must be in the next COVID-19 emergency supplemental (The Hill)

“The indirect impacts of COVID-19 need to be addressed as well. Safe health care workers and robust health systems are needed to deliver the vaccines. This month’s COVID-19 stimulus provisions must include protections for health systems and delivery of diagnostics and treatments and mitigation of damage to AIDS, TB and malaria programs (through the Global Fund and PEPFAR, among others). All these investments pave the way for vaccine delivery while preventing further health system disruption. Congress must act immediately to include robust global funding as part of COVID-19 legislation.” READ MORE

12/15/20: Coming together to address the cost of inequality (UNAIDS – united republic of tanzania)

“The COVID-19 crisis has adversely impacted the livelihoods of people living with HIV in the United Republic of Tanzania, exacerbating the challenges they face. These include HIV service delivery and widening social and economic inequalities. ‘Corona has been a very difficult time. I lived with a lot of worry and stress. Driving a bodaboda (motorbike taxi) requires going into crowds and working closely with people. It has been difficult not to fall into anxiety and depression, balancing getting my HIV treatment and work. I had moments thinking of stopping taking my meds, but I didn’t,’ said Aziz Lai, a motorcycle driver who also lives in Dar es Salaam. Although the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 are hitting the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest, through national resource mobilization the COVID-19 crisis has created an opportunity for partners to mobilize in support of the communities they serve.” READ MORE

12/14/20: Global first responders: 5 things to know about Doctors Without Borders’ Covid-19 strategy (the guardian)

“MSF has also been working to mitigate disruptions to HIV services in many parts of the world. A modeling study by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimated that a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy treatment could lead to more than 500,000 additional deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. One of MSF’s top priorities from the start has been addressing the devastating secondary impacts from the coronavirus and ensuring that crucial medical activities – including measles vaccinations and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis – can continue and adapt to meet the moment.” READ MORE

12/14/20: Let the people lead if responses to tackle HIV are to be effective (mail & Guardian)

“The Covid-19 pandemic compounds inequalities and heightens the vulnerability of people living with HIV. The World Aids Day 2020 report recognises the importance of communities playing a key role. It noted that a community-focused response starts by tailoring services to reach those who need them most. This calls for comprehensive HIV services, context- specific integration of services and removal of societal and legal impediments to an enabling environment for HIV services.” READ MORE

12/14/20: The Covid-19 Pandemic Is Threatening Decades Of Progress In Global Health (forbes)

“This pandemic is also threatening to undermine gains in controlling infectious diseases that impact both children and adults. Malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis (TB) are often known as the big three infectious diseases because of the large number of people these diseases infect each year. The impact of Covid-19 on malaria has been of special concern to public health officials. Some models predicted that malaria deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa could as much as double if prevention and treatment were severely hindered. Thankfully, this has not been the case, but there has been an increase in the number of malaria cases and deaths in the wake of Covid-19. HIV testing has significantly decreased during the pandemic. This could lead to more new infections of HIV as individuals may unwittingly spread the virus if they are unaware of their HIV-status. Similarly, the number of undiagnosed cases of TB is increasing due to Covid-19 as people may be unable to access healthcare facilities in the middle of the pandemic. This will also likely result in an increase in the number of new TB cases around the world, as those who do not know they are infected with TB may continue to spread the bacterium to others.” READ MORE

12/14/20:  Extra-Long Malaria Season in Borno Claims Lives (medeicins sans frontieres – nigeria)

“The seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis campaign in Borno state was challenging to implement, given the unstable context and the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is likely to have saved many children’s lives. To save even more lives in a country that accounts for more than half of all malaria cases in West Africa, MSF is calling for seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis to be given to all children aged from three months to ten years. ‘We’ve noticed the positive effects of the campaign,’ says Dr Emmanuel Berbain, MSF medical team leader in Gwange hospital. ‘Children under five mostly weren’t affected by malaria during the peak season. However, there were deaths among children over five. Because of the death rates, I think we should lobby for next year’s malaria prevention campaign to cover children up to the age of 10. It’s certainly possible, but it will require coordination, resources and preparation.’” READ MORE

12/14/20: Worry over malaria cases being missed as symptoms are similar to those of Covid-19 (independent online – south africa)

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has warned that, with special attention being paid to Covid-19, malaria care was declining. The NICD said: ‘The current focus on Covid-19 has led to malaria being missed. Early symptoms of malaria and Covid-19 are similarly non-specific – fever, headache, fatigue. More specific are muscle and joint pains. Symptoms also shared between these infections (are) respiratory difficulties, including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.’ The institute said it was mandatory to test anyone presenting with flu-like symptoms, especially those who live in a malaria endemic area or have travelled in those areas in the past six weeks. ‘Regardless of suspected Covid19 conditions, pending Covid-19 tests or even a positive Covid-19 test, using a rapid diagnostic test or blood smear microscopy can obtain results urgently. Malaria should be considered in a patient with a progressively worsening febrile illness of unknown cause even if no travel history to a malaria endemic area.’” READ MORE

12/11/20: A 2-Front Battle: COVID-19 Must Reinvigorate the Fight Against T (Global health now)

“Strengthening community surveillance, which can cover both diseases, can reach presumptive TB cases early at home—key as some people may avoid health facilities due to fear of COVID-19 and stigma. After all, TB and COVID-19 are both infectious diseases attacking primarily the lungs, with similar symptoms (cough, fever, and difficulty breathing) that could indicate either disease.” READ MORE

12/11/20: How investments in health can help defeat malaria and COVID-19 (devex)

“When COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks, it also threatened to roll back decades of progress against another major public health challenge — malaria. As of last year, malaria mortality rates had declined by 60% since 2000, and significant progress had been made in increased access to bed nets, diagnostics, and treatments. But the World Health Organization estimates that up to 100,000 additional malaria deaths could occur this year as the pandemic disrupts access to these lifesaving tools. However, we do not have to choose between protecting communities from either COVID-19 or malaria. To save lives, we can, and must, respond to both. Through creativity, innovation, and by bringing diverse partners to the table, we can help build resilient health systems that can respond to a wide range of health threats, not just COVID-19.” READ MORE

12/10/20 Put human rights at the centre of our battle against Covid-19 (MAIL & Guardian)

“Health services that have taken years to build are suffering major setbacks, leaving people who are already vulnerable to other diseases now at greater risk of Covid-19. Human Rights Watch warns that inability to access HIV testing during lockdowns has put LGBT people at particular risk of suffering serious illness or death from Covid-19. Covid-19 has also exacerbated human rights violations related to health, including stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence and police brutality. In some countries, vulnerable groups have been turned into scapegoats for the new pandemic. Sixty-one percent of respondents of a major survey reported increases in stigma, as well as misinformation, as serious challenges to an effective TB response due to Covid-19.” READ MORE

12/10/20: Global action on malaria is stalling. In some countries it could be a greater threat than COVID (world economic forum)

“…the WHO is concerned that even moderate COVID-19-related disruptions in access to effective malaria treatment could lead to a considerable loss of life. The report finds, for example, that a 25% disruption in access to effective antimalarial treatment in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to 46,000 additional deaths. In fact, malaria could kill more people than COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa this year, according to Pedro Alsonso, director of WHO’s malaria programme. ‘It’s very likely that excess malaria mortality is larger than the direct COVID mortality,’ Alsonso said. The WHO is calling on countries and global health partners to step up the fight against malaria and says a key strategy to reignite progress is the ‘high burden to high impact’ (HBHI) response. This is led by 11 countries – including 10 in sub-Saharan Africa – that account for approximately 70% of the world’s malaria burden.” READ MORE

12/10/20: FG Adopt Strategies to Check Mother to Child Infection of HIV (this day – nigeria)

“Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who spoke at this year’s World AIDS Day, noted that there has been improvements in HIV treatment coverage despite COVID-19 induced disruptions. He said that World AIDS Day commemoration -provided ‘an opportunity to reflect on where we stand today and remind ourselves where we want to be with regard to the fight against HIV/AIDS.’ He said Nigeria had 1,228,100 patients on ART, 150,000 patients more than the number in June last year. ‘Without doubt, there is need to continue to raise awareness about HIV, promote the rights of people living with HIV, and importantly, ensure access to life-saving HIV medicines for them. This year has been unique because of the new challenges to our health system and our lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of which, I am pleased to note we are still on track to ending the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria.’” READ MORE

12/10/20: Fund to help key populations during COVID-19 launched (UNAIDS)

“’Key populations are among those disproportionally impacted by COVID-19,’ said Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director. ‘COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated the profound and widening economic and social inequalities. We must act to support and protect the people who are most impacted by the pandemic.’ Experience from the COVID-19 and HIV pandemics, and from other diseases, such as Ebola, has shown that key populations are more likely to be impacted by food insecurity, face barriers to health care and access to medicines, and suffer losses of livelihood, unemployment, homelessness and domestic violence.” READ MORE

12/9/20: State Minister Commends Support For National HIV/AIDS Programme (jamaica information services – jamaica)

“The [State Minister for Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn], in the meantime, commended UNAIDS for bringing the global community together to mark World AIDS Day despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. She pointed out that although COVID-19 has been all-consuming across the globe, the entity ensured that the world paused to observe the day. ‘The COVID-19 global pandemic has presented myriad challenges to the HIV/AIDS response on an international scale and it is heartening to see us coming together to achieve global solidarity through our shared responsibility,’ she noted” READ MORE

12/9/20: Venezuela Threatens Latin America’s Efforts for Eliminating Malaria (CarAcas chronicles – Venezuela)

“…while disruptions in health coverage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to severely undermine recent progress on malaria control in many lower-middle-income countries (LMIC), their effect in Venezuela is harder to foresee. Malaria remains a heavily focalized problem in the country, with most cases originating from mining activity in Bolívar. Reduced access to healthcare services could definitely lead to more malaria deaths this year, particularly in remote areas where indigenous groups might be disproportionately affected. However, mobility restrictions caused by quarantine measures (and widespread shortages of fuel) have almost certainly reduced the number of people traveling to high-transmission areas, and therefore, the transmission of disease.” READ MORE

12/9/20: COVID-19 Situation Report (the Global Fund)

“Service delivery returns to relatively normal in countries. However, nearly 15% of countries still report disruption in service delivery for all three components. Disruption has been mitigated in some countries thanks to increased availability of personal protective equipment for service providers. But decreased attendance at health facilities continues to impact service delivery for all three diseases. Even as supply stabilizes, the demand continues to be depressed. On HIV, challenges are still being observed in some countries with reports of increasing loss to follow up among people on treatment, and complete halt or challenges in restarting interventions dedicated to key populations. On TB, improvement in notification is observed across many settings and community case finding is restarting in a number of settings with volunteers starting to conduct follow-up of patients and defaulter tracing. On malaria, programs suffer from delays in mass distribution campaigns of long-lasting insecticidal nets. Countries are now adopting door-to-door distribution.” READ MORE

12/8/20: State minister commends support for National HIV/AIDS programme (jamaica observer – jamaica)

“[State Minister for Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn] noted that challenges are being faced in the form of disruptions to service delivery due to curfews and quarantine, supply chain management issues because of country lockdowns, increased demand for personal protective equipment and re-prioritisation of laboratory services for testing. She is imploring everyone to work together to safeguard the health and wellness of those living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, while paying respect to those who have lost their lives to the disease. The state minister, in the meantime, commended UNAIDS for bringing the global community together to mark World AIDS Day despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. She pointed out that although COVID-19 has been all-consuming across the globe, the entity ensured that the world paused to observe the day. ‘The COVID-19 global pandemic has presented myriad challenges to the HIV/AIDS response on an international scale and it is heartening to see us coming together to achieve global solidarity through our shared responsibility,’ she noted.” READ MORE

12/7/20: Getting Gauteng’s HIV and TB Response Back On Track (Spotlight – south africa)

“A Second Quarter Performance Monitoring report tabled in the Gauteng Legislature last month confirmed the impact COVID-19 and the associated lockdown had on HIV and TB services in the province. Although the province met its HIV testing target, its performance on the other 90-90-90 targets, including getting 90% of people diagnosed with HIV on ARVs and 90% of those on ARVs virally suppressed, were below par…The report shows that the number of people tested for HIV in Gauteng increased from 728 532 tests done in the first quarter (April to June) to 1.78m by the end of the second quarter (July until September) which means the province exceeded its target of 1.75m tests for the two quarters. The provincial health department in the report says the ‘good performance was due to the catch-up plans it developed and implemented along with integrating the COVID-19 response to routine health services.’” READ MORE

12/6/20: India can still achieve TB elimination target by 2025 (issue wire – india)

“Dr. Jerry Paul, President, Indian Association of Respiratory Care said, ‘Tuberculosis is one such chronic respiratory disease affecting millions of patients in India. It was once considered an incurable disease, which became a potentially curable disease with new drugs during the latter part of the last century. Unfortunately, it is becoming incurable again. Keeping this in mind the Government of India has announced its plan to eliminate TB by 2025 during the Union Budget 2017–2018. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has added on to this threat and limited the resources to tackle TB. A joint effort by the government, medical practitioners, respiratory therapists, society, and researchers at large is essential to take control of this disease.’” READ MORE

12/5/20: Half a million died of AIDS last year (national herald – india)

“This year, India has officially achieved the target of 74 % PLHIV, 84 % of these are put on ART and of these ART cases 82 % are virally suppressed. In 2018, 81% received testing, 67% received treatment, and 59% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus with reduced risk of infecting others globally.Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India (ASI), who also represents Asia Pacific region in the Governing Council of International AIDS Society (IAS), said that with just a month left for 2020 to end, it is unlikely that India will meet the WHO target. ‘We can blame the spread of Covid pandemic for this delay,’ Dr Gilada told this reporter from Mumbai.” READ MORE

12/4/20: world aids day (mail & Guardian – south africa)

“…the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted health services across South Africa; most worryingly, HIV services have also been negatively impacted, and getting back on track may be a challenge. According to figures from the national health depaprtment, HIV testing at public hospitals and clinics decreased by more than half during the first month of lockdown when movement was considerably restricted with the aim of reducing infections and ‘flattening the curve.’ Although HIV testing services were operational throughout lockdown, people did not go to health facilities for testing. About 1.6-million HIV tests were conducted in March. In April that number dipped to just fewer than 690 000 tests, just after the lockdown was instituted at the end of the previous month. Additionally, more than twice as many people tested for HIV in April last year compared to this year, showing one of the devastating effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on access to healthcare services.” READ MORE

12/4/20: Coronavirus in government focus, malaria cases soar in Odisha (the new indian express – india)

“’The [malaria] cases rose in some of the districts due to disruption in distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and awareness drives in the remote areas due to the prolonged lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak. The activities have been intensified and we hope the situation will improve in the remaining months of this financial year,’ said a senior health official. There is, however, a silver lining as six high burden districts, Khurda, Koraput, Ganjam, Gajapati, Nabarangpur and Sundargarh have witnessed a decline despite the unavoidable circumstances.” READ MORE

12/3/20: New COVID-19 infections fall globally for first time since September (modern diplomacy)

“For millions, COVID-19 is only one health [risk] they face, [Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] said. People living with HIV also may have an increased risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19, he said. A record 26 million people are on antiretroviral treatment – but the pace of increase has slowed, leaving 12 million people who are living with HIV without treatment. ‘12 million is big,’ he assured. A WHO survey of 127 countries earlier this year found that more than one quarter reported partial disruption to antiretroviral treatment. However, with support from WHO, the number of countries reporting disruptions in HIV services has declined by almost 75 per cent since June. Only nine still report disruptions and only 12 report a critically low stock of antiretroviral medicines.” READ MORE

12/3/20: The Forgotten HIV/AIDS Pandemic (in depth news)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in sharp drops in diagnosis and treatment of other perilous diseases as many essential services (clinics and laboratories) are being diverted to fight COVID-19. In almost all countries, activities related to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are being disrupted due to COVID-19 lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings of people, transport stoppages, resources diverted to the new virus, reluctance of health workers to attend to people suspected of having TB or malaria that often display similar symptoms as COVID-19. And most importantly, almost all countries have been severely affected by its economic consequences – thereby limiting the vital human and monetary resources indispensable to maintain crucial healthcare services. These are insurmountable barriers to HIV, TB and malaria patients who need to constantly gain access to medical attention, care and treatments.” READ MORE

12/3/20: Snapshots on how UNAIDS is supporting the HIV response during COVID-19 (unaids – china)

“A survey of people living with HIV in China devised and jointly launched by UNAIDS found in February that the COVID-19 outbreak was having a major impact on the lives of people living with HIV in the country, with nearly a third of people living with HIV reporting that, because of the lockdowns and restrictions on movement in some places in China, they were at risk of running out of their HIV treatment in the coming days. The lockdowns had also resulted in people living with HIV who had travelled away from their home towns not being able to get back to where they live and access HIV services, including treatment, from their usual health-care providers. The UNAIDS China Country Office worked with the BaiHuaLin alliance and other community partners to urgently reach the people at risk of running out of their medicines to ensure that they got their medicine refills. By the end of March, special pick-ups and mail deliveries of HIV medicines arranged by UNAIDS had reached more than 6000 people in Wuhan. UNAIDS also donated personal protective equipment to civil society organizations serving people living with HIV, hospitals and others to help in the very early stages of the outbreak.” READ MORE

12/3/20: TB testing took severe knock during lockdown (independent Online – south Africa)

“Tuberculosis (TB) testing, the mainstay of [South Africa]’s TB programme, took a severe knock during lockdown which left many South Africans with undiagnosed TB, experts have said. One of South Africa’s foremost TB researchers, Dr Francesca Conradie, a principal investigator at the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU), has called for a renewed focus on TB testing in South Africa to help find new TB cases that ‘went missing’ during the Covid-19 lockdown.” READ MORE

12/2/20: Fighting HIV in Times of Covid-19 (africa renewal online)

“There is evidence that the AIDS-related death toll could double in sub-Saharan Africa from 2020 to 2021 if HIV services are severely disrupted – this would mean and additional 500,000 AIDS-related deaths. But not only that, new infections among children through mother-to-child transmission could increase by even more than 100 per cent in some countries in Africa. We could see the progress made in fighting AIDS reversed by 10 years. And that’s dangerous. So, it’s so important to put the message out there that we should keep up the two struggles, on HIV and COVID-19. Do not drop one for the other.” READ MORE

12/2/20: HIV Has Not Disappeared, Warns Nyusi (agência de informação  de moçambique – mozambique)

“Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi warned on Tuesday against allowing the current battle against the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease to overshadow the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Speaking in Maputo on World AIDS Day, Nyusi said that HIV has not disappeared just because so much attention is now being paid to Covid-19. Indeed, it was necessary to step up the fight against HIV/AIDS, but in the new context of Covid-19. ‘Despite the efforts we, as a country, have been making in the fight against HIV/AIDS, victories are coming very slowly, and the battle is far from being won,’ he said.” READ MORE

12/2/20: Covid could derail efforts to eradicate malaria in Pacific, health experts warn (the guardian)

“The global Covid-19 pandemic could derail efforts to control and eradicate malaria across the Pacific, with the potential for thousands of new cases and deaths, health experts have warned. Malaria, one of the oldest diseases on Earth, remains one of its most significant killers: the mosquito-borne disease still kills 400,000 people a year, most of those children under five. Professor Brendan Crabb, chair of Pacific Friends of Global Health and chief executive of the Burnet Institute, said the Pacific was at acute risk if intervention measures were disrupted within health systems overwhelmed by, or focused on, Covid-19. ‘There are a number of infectious diseases that could spike if we ignore them in the wake of the focus on Covid-19, but none are more acute than the short-term risk that malaria poses. It can double, even triple or worse in a single season if the wheels come off control measures.’” READ MORE

12/2/20: 15% of AIDS-Related Deaths in Children, Adolescents Occur in Nigeria – Unicef Report (premium times – nigeria)

“’The world is still struggling with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, but there is now hope for a vaccine. But we must remember that there is no vaccine for HIV,’ said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative. He said hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the impact of the HIV epidemic. ‘Children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. Even with improvements in recent years, HIV treatment access for children and adolescents is unacceptably low, and much more needs to be done to ensure children get the treatment they need and deserve,’ he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services globally, putting countless more lives at risk.” READ MORE

12/2/20: Faith, Philanthropy, Community – How to Save Hundreds of Thousands from Malaria Amid Covid-19 (all africa)

“[Dr. Kundai Mapanga, Pediatric Medical Officer] reported that malaria cases from the border areas of Namibia and Angola have experienced strain from Covid-19, which has set back anti-malaria efforts. ‘We have seen a redirection of funds, which is why we are grateful to Global Fund for their continued support,’ she said. The symptom of fever is common to both malaria and Covid-19 patients, leading to reduced diagnoses, especially where resources for testing are scarce, and has pushed up the death rate. ‘Unfortunately, our mortality rate has gone up this year,’ Mapanga said. The lockdowns reduced availability of medication for malaria treatment and restricted the movements of healthcare workers, who are ‘critical in going out to communities,’ she said. ‘They haven’t been able to do that this year…We have lost a lot of ground.’” READ MORE

12/2/20: report Shows 1.5 Million Living With HIV (capital fm – Kenya)

“The [Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman] further noted that the COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge to the uptake of HIV testing services due to low outpatient hospital visits during this period. ‘The uptake of HIV testing services has declined over the months between the months of January 2019 and June 2020 with the lowest uptake noted between March and April where testing volumes reduced by 33 pc.’ However, antenatal clinic attendance and testing was not impacted.” READ MORE

12/2/20: Unitaid reaffirms its commitment to the fight against HIV in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (unitaid)

“Global efforts to meet international targets were already off-track in 2019, and progress has been further derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 2020, in 36 countries which are home to almost half of all people on antiretroviral therapy (ART), disruptions in the provision of HIV services have been reported. It has been widely acknowledged that the interruption of HIV services could lead to an increase in HIV mortality and incidence during the pandemic, with estimates by the WHO and UNAIDS suggesting that COVID-19 related disruptions could lead to up to 293,000 new infections and up to 148,000 additional deaths to HIV globally through 2020. Within the context of this new pandemic, it is more critical than ever to ensure that both people living with HIV and those most at-risk for acquiring HIV remain a priority and have access to uninterrupted HIV services. A lack of access to these services puts a person living with HIV at increased risk of treatment disruption, contracting co-infections and Advanced HIV disease.” READ MORE

12/1/20: UN – HIV Treatment Progress Risks Being Undermined By Covid-19 Pandemic (radio france internationale)

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in society and how key populations have been left behind in many parts of the world – for example women, minorities and low-income earners. The spread of coronavirus has also caused unprecedented disruption to healthcare services. Ongoing research has suggested pandemic lockdowns earlier this year saw a slump in emergency room visits for non-Covid related illness such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as an impact on the fight against HIV malaria and tuberculosis.” READ MORE

12/1/20: Joint Responsibility, Solidarity and Urgency – UNFPA’s Innovative Response to HIV and Covid-19 (UNFPA east and southern africa)

“In Uganda, where 1,000 new HIV infections are recorded weekly, monthly condom distribution dropped from 16 million in February to 4 million in May. Women’s use of family planning halved in Eswatini, while young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services declined by nearly two thirds, and antenatal attendance in some clinics declined by more than 50 per cent in May this year compared to May 2019. Within the first three months of school closures in Malawi, Mangochi district reported 848 adolescent pregnancies – a significant increase on the 843 pregnancies recorded in the 12 months prior to the lockdown – and a related increase in pregnancy complications, unsafe abortions, and teenage mothers dropping out of school. Namibia and Zimbabwe, both of which have successful family planning programmes, also experienced sharp declines in contraceptive use. A comparison between April 2019 and April 2020 in Zimbabwe showed a two-thirds decrease in new users of contraceptive implants.” READ MORE

12/1/20: Covid disrupted HIV care in Asia-Pacific, 46% dip in frequency of taking tests, survey finds (the print – india)

“More than one in three among those who are at risk of contracting HIV have reported they had either decreased or stopped taking HIV preventive medicine, a survey has found. According to a pulse survey conducted by Kantar Health, funded by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences with guidance and support from the AIDS Society of India, about 50 per cent of prescribers also reported a decline in prescribing refill antiretroviral medication (ART) to Persons Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV).” READ MORE

12/1/20: From the Frontlines – 20 Years of Fighting HIV in Khayelitsha (spotlight – south africa)

“Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, [health promotions officer at MSF Phumeza Runeyi] says everyone agrees that the pandemic has shifted the focus from other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer. ‘There is a feeling now among young males that they can’t mask double. They often joke that having to wear a mask all the time is a pressure on its own. So between a mask and a condom, one of them must fall. Hence we need to strengthen our campaigns in these COVID-19 times to make everyone understand that wearing a mask is as important as putting on a condom. Corona must be getting all the attention now, but other viruses such as HIV also kill,’ says Runeyi.” READ MORE

12/1/20: Covid-19 risks undoing a decade of hiv prevention, frontline activists warn (frontline aids)

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the situation has only deteriorated. The pandemic has forced some HIV prevention services to shut and has slowed down, if not completely halted national and sub-national decision-making processes which are crucial to implementing change, such as drug policy reform, sexual education roll outs and the prohibition of forced marriage. Even when these actions are taken, benefits are not filtered down to individuals at highest risk – including the LGBT community, sex workers and people who use drugs. Stigma, discrimination and violence against these groups are an ongoing barrier to HIV prevention across all seven nations, despite their efforts to address legal and social barriers.” READ MORE

12/1/20: World ‘Way Off’ Targets of Getting Control of HIV Transmission (voice of america)

“’We’re just really starting to understand the impacts that COVID has had on HIV and also on TB. The leading cause of death worldwide for people living with HIV infection is tuberculosis. … What we’ve seen … is things that were not an emergency, like HIV testing for example, were postponed or those clinics were closed all together. That had a very big impact on HIV testing and also on prevention. We have, from the medical perspective, a powerful tool kit now to get control. But what we haven’t done is get these essential tools and services to the people who need [them] the most. And as long as we continue to have this level of stigma and discrimination, criminalization of the people who are most at risk, we’re not going to achieve our goals.’ [Dr. Chris Beyrer, an AIDS researcher at Johns Hopkins University]” READ MORE


“As in every crisis, those that are vulnerable are affected the most. In order to end the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19, a gender-responsive approach is therefore of paramount importance. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women and girls, in particular in low- and middle-income countries. Similarly, in some parts of the world HIV has a higher prevalence and disproportionately impacts women and girls. In sub-Saharan Africa, five in six new infections among adolescents aged 15–19 years are among girls. Young women aged 15–24 years are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men. The social, cultural, and economic dimensions of gender inequality restrict women’s control in deciding how, when, and with whom they have sex and limit their ability to access preventive tools- increasing their vulnerability to HIV infection.” READ MORE

12/1/20: World AIDS Day 2020 Statement (US department of state)

“PEPFAR’s latest results also demonstrate the program’s unmatched capacity to help protect and advance HIV gains, even in the face of severe adversity. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in unprecedented ways. While PEPFAR and partner programs have shown remarkable resilience in the context of COVID-19, its impact on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria prevention programs has been devastating. These programs were among the first and hardest-hit by COVID-19, and the pain has been particularly acute for women and children as well as other vulnerable and marginalized populations. The dual HIV and COVID-19 pandemics continue to reveal and exacerbate existing inequities and vulnerabilities in societies around the globe.” READ MORE

12/1/20: The Global Need to Address the Dual Pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 Simultaneously (morning consulT)

“Marginalized people worldwide face new, harmful barriers to care, such as lack of transportation to clinics due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, stigma and confusion about COVID-19, missed appointments due to safety concerns and shortages in medical supplies. One of the most alarming effects is decreased access to care for pregnant women across several high-burden countries such as Kenya. If this continues, thousands of pregnant women won’t know their HIV status or receive the anti-retroviral treatment that allows HIV-positive women to give birth without passing the virus on to their babies. Across many countries, HIV treatment initiation for many age groups is down approximately 25 percent, as is testing across all age groups.” READ MORE

12/1/20: UN urges ‘global solidarity, shared responsibility’ against pandemics, marking World AIDS Day (un news)

“’Despite significant successes, the AIDS emergency is not over. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690,000,’ [Secretary-General António Guterres] said. Mr. Guterres highlighted the impact of inequalities, leaving the vulnerable most affected, a fact evidenced by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the world. Inequalities in health affect all of us. No one is safe unless we all are safe,’ he added, stressing: ‘Wealth should not determine whether people get the health care they need. We need a COVID-19 vaccine and HIV treatments and care that are affordable and available to everyone, everywhere.’” READ MORE

12/1/20: Coronavirus pandemic slows Africa’s progress against HIV (deutsche welle)

“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, more than half of the people under Gilbert Tene’s care have stopped coming in for their regular checkups, the doctor, who works with AIDS patients at Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, told DW. ‘Patients are reluctant to come to the hospital,’ Tene said. ‘We need those patients at the hospital to keep on counseling, to provide them with drugs and to provide them with any other support,’ he said. HIV-positive people with access to the right kind of drugs can live for decades without developing AIDS. Going without such medication, however, can be lethal. The South African doctor Zolelwa Sifumba said she witnessed such tragedy daily. ‘Members of the communities die in hospitals, leaving others afraid to seek medical care,’ said Sifumba, who tends to patients in the Kwazulu-Natal province. ‘Those that missed follow-up dates of previously well-controlled conditions like HIV, TB and other conditions come in now dying, because they came in late for multiple reasons, including the lockdown.’” READ MORE

12/1/20: 2020 Global HIV policy Report (HIV policy Lab)

“During COVID-19, a number of countries—including, but not limited to, Kenya, Malawi, and Thailand—extended ART refills or otherwise changed policies to increase who is eligible for multi-month dispensing and DSD models. This change in policy emphasized the importance of community-based models and worked to integrated and align refills of other medications, such as TB preventive therapy. Many of these adaptations made in response to COVID-19 are likely to enable improved outcomes, and they should be retained beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.” READ MORE

12/1/20: World Aids Day – Why Nigeria Missed 2020 HIV/Aids Target (premium times – nigeria)

“While Nigeria, just like other countries, was making efforts to end the AIDS epidemic, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, resulting in massive disruptions of health services globally. The novel coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China last December and has since spread to over 200 countries, has caused major setbacks in gains already made in the health sectors, according to a UNAIDS report. This has also led to funding and resources being diverted away from HIV, as all efforts are geared towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘We cannot take money from one disease to treat another. Both HIV and COVID-19 must be fully funded if we are to avoid massive loss of life,’ Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS said. The UNAIDS had in its report ‘Seizing the Moments’, warned that the HIV targets set for 2020 will not be reached due to unequal access to antiretroviral therapy and service disruptions caused by the pandemic. ‘With COVID-19 dislocating supply chain, affecting antiretrovirals and kits manufacturing, with COVID-19 competing with HIV in terms of health care personnel time, in terms of services being provided to patients, there may be an increase of almost 100 per cent fall of mortality and morbidity in the HIV community,’ [Sani Aliyu, the former head of National Agency for the Control of AIDS] told Premium Times.” READ MORE

12/1/20: ‘Welcome Back Service’ Aims to Help People Get Back On HIV Treatment (spotlight – south africa)

“While reliable estimates for 2020 will only be available in mid-2021 at the earliest, it is possible that the percentage of people diagnosed with HIV who are on ART might decline in 2020 compared to 2019. This is because COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns have constituted one of the largest shocks to our public healthcare system in many years. During hard lockdown, with movement restricted, many people were reluctant to visit health care facilities in fear of contracting COVID-19. The healthcare system itself reprioritised and many programmes and services were temporarily shelved. Visits to health facilities also dropped due to transport problems. In short, for many people it would have been a hard year in which to stay on treatment, let alone start treatment for the first time.” READ MORE

11/30/20: In South Africa, young women leading HIV and violence prevention say men’s involvement is key (un women – south africa)

“’There has been a rise in GBV since the COVID-19 lockdown,’ says [Sarah Baloyi (26), young woman from Mamelodi]. ‘Abusive partners have been stuck at home and they are frustrated. They are no longer able to spend their time working or drinking with friends, and take it out on their partners and children. This is especially the case in informal settlements, where families live in one- or two-room shacks.’…. ‘The stigma around HIV prevents people from seeking treatment. I have met some older patients who still fear going to the clinics because they feel judged or embarrassed.’ says [Karabo Chabalala (28) young women from Mamelodi]. To increase the uptake of HIV testing, the changemakers partnered with 20 local HIV counselling and testing clinics across participating districts. They also facilitated outreach for HIV testing at community and church events and developed a referral system. In two years, the HeforShe initiatives have resulted in 62 per cent of those engaged testing for HIV, and 36 per cent returning and adhering to their antiretroviral treatment. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people living with HIV and people at higher risk of HIV infection are facing life-threatening disruptions to health services.” READ MORE

11/30/20: Countries Rise to the Double Challenge of Malaria and COVID-19, Yet Pandemic Looms Large Over a Malaria-Free Future (roll back malaria partnership)

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global malaria community has shown unprecedented collaboration in mobilizing additional resources, addressing supply chain disruptions of life-saving malaria interventions and personal protective equipment, resolving bottlenecks in campaign delivery, and responding to upsurges in malaria. COVID-19 has shown the critical importance of having timely, accurate and localized data and innovation to effectively fight an infectious disease. This is necessary to make critical strategy pivots and to target limited resources in response to new challenges. Dr Elizabeth Chizema, RBM Partnership Board Member and former Director of Zambia’s National Malaria Elimination Programme, said: ‘The global malaria community must make the most of the opportunity to use real-time data to inform real-time decision making. This approach, catalyzed and facilitated by the RBM Partnership, will help prioritize limited resources and further support countries’ resilience in the face of the unexpected barriers that can arise when fighting malaria.’” READ MORE

11/30/20: Don’t Forget Carnage of Malaria While World Focuses on Covid-19 – Researchers, Health Professionals (All Africa)

“Insufficient funding has been one of the challenges most countries face, especially low-income countries. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a serious additional challenge to malaria responses worldwide, the [WHO Malaria Report] found. Another finding is that one in three pregnant women – 11 million women across 33 African countries – contracted malaria, resulting in 822 thousand children born with low birth weight. Underweight babies risk becoming undernourished and ‘stunted’ – never able to reach their full intellectual or physical potential. ‘This report is a wake up call, it tells us that we are likely not going to reach the 2030 targets of the global strategy for malaria, if we continue on the current trajectory. To turn this situation around, there are two key challenges that need to be addressed. The first one is the persistently weak systems in malaria endemic countries and insufficient funding,’ [Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa] says.” READ MORE

11/30/20: Q&A: Putting AIDS back on the priority list in Asia (DEVEX)

“HIV/AIDS may have fallen off the priority list for many countries and international bodies with the arrival of COVID-19, but advocacy for adequately funded responses must continue, according to Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society. ‘There’s no such thing as ‘HIV is more important than COVID’ or even ‘one disease is more important than the other,’ the Malaysia-based doctor said. ‘However, as we’ve learned over the past four decades, if we don’t adequately fund prevention programs and we don’t adequately fund treatment programs, then the outcome could be worse — and, in the long run, could even be more costly.’” READ MORE

11/30/20: World AIDS Day 2020 – WHO calls for global solidarity to maintain HIV services (who)

“On 1 December WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for ‘global solidarity’ to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19 and beyond – and to ensure continued provision of HIV services for children, adolescents and populations most at risk for the disease. The Organization also calls on countries to provide health workers with greater protection and support so they can continue their work safely during the pandemic. Protecting people from HIV during the pandemic, and ensuring they can maintain treatment, is critical.” READ MORE

11/30/20: Time to Address the Intersecting Crises of Covid-19, HIV, and Gender Inequality (center for strategic & international studies)

“Over the past six months, the CSIS Global Health Policy Center has conducted scores of interviews with experts, implementers, and [adolescent girls and young women (AGYW)] themselves in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. Through these interviews, it became clear that Covid-19 is severely affecting AGYW programs, threatening the momentum on AGYW and HIV prevention and on development goals, such as education for girls and gender equality. Lockdowns and social distancing regulations due to Covid-19 have undermined access to information and services for all vulnerable populations, but the toll on AGYW has been particularly harsh. This is evident in the emerging data: sharp declines in access to services for sexual and reproductive health, HIV testing and PrEP uptake/continuation, safe spaces, and post-rape care; rising rates of gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and unintended pregnancies; and economic hardships fueling transactional sex, food insecurity, and school drop outs.” READ MORE

11/30/20: What lessons can we learn from the HIV/AIDS epidemic during COVID-19? (one)

“Now, COVID-19 risks blowing HIV progress further off course. People living with HIV are at greater risk of developing more severe disease if infected with COVID-19. Lockdowns and other social distancing measures are affecting the ability of those with HIV to access vital health services. As of the end of October, nearly 20% of countries were still experiencing high levels of disruption in services that deliver prevention, testing, and treatment support for people living with HIV. These disruptions have deadly consequences: if health systems collapse or treatment and prevention services are interrupted, the death toll from HIV, TB, malaria, and other diseases could exceed deaths from COVID-19 itself. A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy due to COVID-19 could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths from AIDS-related illnesses, including from tuberculosis, in sub-Saharan Africa.” READ MORE

11/30/20: Malaria Will Kill More People Than COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa This Year: WHO (global citizen)

“As these countries [threatened by malaria] impose restrictions on the movement of people, malaria prevention services such as the dissemination of mosquito nets have been limited. Public health campaigns advising people with COVID-19-like symptoms to stay at home, meanwhile, may have inadvertently deterred people with malaria from seeking treatment. ‘The global health world, the media, and politics are all transfixed by COVID … and yet we pay very little attention to a disease that is still killing over 400,000 people every year, mainly children,’ Pedro Alsonso, director of the WHO’s malaria program, told reporters at a briefing on Sunday, according to Reuters.” READ MORE

11/30/20: Malaria gains at risk from COVID-19 pandemic: WHO (al jazeera)

“’Progress has stalled,’ said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. ‘COVID-19 threatens to further derail our efforts to overcome malaria, particularly treating people with the disease. Despite the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on African economies, international partners and countries need to do more to ensure that the resources are there to expand malaria programmes which are making such a difference in people’s lives.’ The WHO’s latest world report on malaria, which is preventable and treatable and mainly affects countries in Africa, shows progress against the disease had already slowed when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged earlier this year. Abdisalan Noor, lead author of WHO’s malaria report, told Al Jazeera the pandemic disrupted the fight against malaria in two ways: ‘It does it by disrupting the prevention of the disease through distribution of bed nets – and the disruption of preventive treatment.’” READ MORE

11/30/20: Covid-19, Funding Shortages Affect Malaria Progress In High-Burden African Nations (forbes)

“’While Africa has shown the world what can be achieved if we stand together to end malaria as a public health threat, progress has stalled,’ said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. ‘Covid-19 threatens to further derail our efforts to overcome malaria, particularly treating people with the disease. Despite the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on African economies, international partners and countries need to do more to ensure that the resources are there to expand malaria programmes which are making such a difference in people’s lives.’ The 2020 target for reductions in malaria case incidence globally will be missed by 37% and the mortality reduction target will be missed by 22%, according to the WHO projections.’” READ MORE

11/30/20: COVID-19 pandemic derailing PH fight vs HIV, AIDS (inquirer – the philippines)

“The coronavirus pandemic is derailing the country’s fight against AIDS as fewer Filipinos who may be living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) get tested, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said Monday. Defensor, who serves as the vice chairperson of the House committee on health, said that the Philippines ‘is facing a new surge in HIV cases on account of ‘disruptions’ caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Citing National AIDS Registry statistics, Defensor said that at the height of lockdowns from April to June 2020, only 934 new HIV cases were detected countrywide, down 68 percent from the 2,938 spotted in the same three-month period in 2019. Overall, from January to September this year, only 5,627 new HIV cases were diagnosed, down 42 percent from the 9,749 discovered in the same nine-month period in 2019, Defensor said.” READ MORE

11/29/20: Before COVID-19, Malawi was on its way to ending AIDS. Now what? (protecting global GAINS)

“Across Malawi, the number of deaths due to HIV plummeted by 75% over the past 15 years, largely due to the increased availability of lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. But a recent survey shows that lockdowns, transport interruptions and other COVID-19-related disruptions have affected carefully built treatment programs in the vast majority of countries served by the Global Fund, including Malawi. If these disruptions continue, UNAIDS and WHO estimate that more than half a million people in Africa will die of AIDS-related illnesses in the next year — setting Malawi and its neighbors back to where they were in 2008.” READ MORE

11/29/20: Battles Won – and Lost – Against Aids Hold Valuable Lessons for Managing Covid-19 (the conversation)

“With the deployment of an effective vaccine, an end to COVID-19 might soon be in sight. For HIV, vaccine development has been more complex and disappointing. The global community needs to remain committed to promoting access and support for the many incredible prevention and treatment options that are available. The unprecedented effort on the part of private industry in the COVID-19 vaccine response shines a light on what can be achieved when all interested parties engage. The HIV and TB vaccine endeavours need a similar effort. These are not the only pandemics the world will face. In fact, there are strong predictions that the emergence of new pandemics will increase in the future. This is due to the effects of globalisation, climate change and proximity to wildlife. The best hope for humanity is to not lose sight of what these pandemics cost us in terms of loved ones, in terms of freedom and economically. We must prepare now collectively across countries and across all levels of society. These preparations need to be grounded in the lessons learnt from HIV/AIDS and re-learnt from COVID-19.” READ MORE

11/29/20: World malaria Report 2020 (WHO)

“…the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions related to the response have caused major disruptions in essential malaria services. Furthermore, early messaging targeted at reducing SARS-CoV2 transmission advised the public to stay at home if they had fever, potentially disrupting treatment seeking for febrile diseases such as malaria. At the same time, many high malaria burden countries had plans to implement large prevention campaigns before the peak malaria transmission season (which was likely to coincide with peak COVID-19 cases). These plans needed to be adapted to conform with COVID-19 restrictions.” READ MORE

11/28/20: Public Health Strategies to Control Infectious Disease (eHealth network – india)

“’Due to a strong collaboration between NGO, private, and public sectors, we were able to reach the maximum best outcome in Mumbai. The city with the highest cases all these three sectors came together gave the best outcomes. As for COVID-19 all the facilities crashed down, the treatment, giving medication to the needy, in time supply of door to door medication was the major challenge because patients were afraid to go to clinics or hospitals, clinics were shut down. All the clinics were converted to COVID-19 centers from TB which was again a challenge, next challenge was the availability of staff so we had to overcome all these challenges. Initially, we thought a lot of COVID-19 patients are there but more TB Cases were detected. There are 8000 TB patients just in two wards in two districts. We thought the chances of TB patients turning into COVID-19 patients were higher but we were proven wrong when we saw an isolation centre separately made for TB and COVID patients which were all vacant for two months.’ [Dr. Vikas Oswal, Senior Pulmonologist]” READ MORE

11/28/20: Maintaining the HIV response in a world shaped by COVID-19 (the lancet)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems and exposed gaps in public health almost everywhere. From the highest levels of national leadership to community-based health facilities, human, financial, and research resources have been diverted from HIV efforts. Most health systems in regions with a high HIV burden are fragile and several studies suggest that disruptions to HIV services could have negative effects on health outcomes in the medium and long term. Modelling data published in The Lancet Global Health show that severe treatment disruptions in high-burden settings could increase HIV mortality by 10% within 5 years. The HIV Modelling Consortium has shown that severe treatment disruptions in sub-Saharan Africa—eg, preventing HIV treatment for 50% of patients for 6 months—could lead to an excess of 296 000 HIV deaths within a year. UNAIDS models suggest that 6-month interruptions to services for mother-to-child transmission of HIV could increase new infections among children by 40–80% in high-burden countries.” READ MORE

11/27/20: Kirinyaga’s efforts to prevent, manage TB (the star – kenya)

“The county government has completed construction of an isolation ward for TB patients. The 24-bed capacity facility is however currently being used as a Covid-19 isolation ward. It will revert to its intended purpose once a Covid-19 isolation ward is set up in the upcoming medical complex at the hospital. ‘The establishment of a TB isolation facility, which was set up in line with the National Isolation Policy, will enhance monitoring of patients who require confinement during treatment,’ says the governor. TB is a contagious airborne disease that is spread through coughs or sneezes. It has been cited as one of the diseases aggravating the coronavirus problem. Health executive Gladys Kimingi says TB patients are getting the relevant medical attention amid the Covid-19 crisis. She urges people showing symptoms of TB, including prolonged coughing, to visit the hospital for diagnosis and treatment.” READ MORE

11/27/20: Study shows how COVID-19 is impacting access to HIV care in the Russian Federation (UNAIDS– Russia)

“’Encouraging results were obtained on how the pandemic affected access to HIV treatment—many specialized institutions have been able to adapt to the new reality,’ said Alexey Mikhailov, Head of the Monitoring Department of the Treatment Preparedness Coalition, who took part in the study. According to the study, the number of people living with HIV with COVID-19 markers was four times higher than that of HIV-negative respondents. At the same time, they were half as likely, compared with HIV-negative respondents, to be tested for coronavirus infection and were less likely to seek medical help, even if they had symptoms. The majority of respondents with HIV and COVID-19 coinfection had a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the significant number of local cases of COVID-19 and the low level of use of personal protective measures, as well as an underestimation of the real personal risk of COVID-19 disease. Although more than two thirds of the study participants were women, among people living with HIV and having had COVID-19 the majority of respondents were men who had lived with HIV for more than 10 years.” READ MORE

11/27/20: Africa Should Be At the Forefront of a Global Response to Covid-19 (All Africa)

“COVID-19 and AIDS are colliding epidemics, and, in many countries in the eastern and southern African region, sexual and gender-based violence is a third and silent triplet. The UNAIDS ‘World Aids Day Report, Prevailing Against Pandemics by Putting People at the centre,’ has noted that the global commitment to fast-track the HIV response and end AIDS by 2030 is now off track. Indeed, agreed milestones for 2020 have been missed. But Africa can take comfort that the architecture, human resources and lessons learned from the AIDS response hold invaluable lessons. We now know that the evidence points to people-centred 2025 targets around comprehensive HIV services, context specific integration of services and the removal of societal and legal impediments to an enabling environment for HIV services. Together these three elements form a powerful whole with people living with HIV and people at greatest risk of HIV infection at its core. Shrinking budgets mean less investments in the HIV response. Our report shows clearly that the collective failure to invest sufficiently in comprehensive, rights-based, person-centred HIV responses comes at a high price: from 2015 to 2020, there were 3.5 million more HIV infections and 820 000 more AIDS-related deaths than if the world were on track to achieve the 2020 targets. We must have a global response for both HIV and COVID-19.” READ MORE

11/26/20: Cameroon’s HIV/AIDS Patients Shirk Hospitals for Fear of COVID-19 (voice of america – cameroon)

“Gilbert Tene of the Cameroon Medical Council said to fill the gap, medics are going to AIDS patients in their homes and giving them a one-month supply of anti-retrovirals. ‘We need those patients at the hospitals to keep on counseling, to provide them with drugs and provide them with any other support. That is why we have come up with what is called differentiated service delivery which has made us to go out to the community to assist those who cannot come to the hospital,’ said Tene. Health worker Awa Fany said some hospitals in Cameroon are running short on funds for AIDS patients because of the pandemic. ‘Funding has become limited. Funders are now paying more attention to COVID-19 and so we are asking ourselves how can we ensure that we distribute resources in an even manner such that we still care for children who are HIV positive while taking care of those who are COVID-19 positive,’ said Fany.” READ MORE

11/26/20: Stigma, Discrimination Seen Driving HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 (voice of america)

“UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said governments must focus on helping the most vulnerable, marginalized people. She said they must target preventive measures and reproductive and other health services toward them and not just implement policies that are politically palatable. ‘We are going to have to be more focused, focusing on the hot spots, not choosing what we want to address because that is what we are comfortable with,’ Byanyima said. Efforts must be ‘evidence based, targeting closely where the risk is, not where we do not want to see.’ Byanyima said governments also must focus on reducing the inequalities that are the drivers of HIV and COVID-19. She said more investment must be made in strengthening health systems and providing treatment and care to all in need. She said respecting the human rights of people most at risk is crucial in beating back the twin pandemics.” READ MORE

11/26/20: HIV and circumcision: How Covid-19 has disrupted the programme (city Press – south africa)

“’Medical male circumcision is an elective surgery and to prevent the risk of Covid-19 infection, all activities [under the programme were suspended] in March in line with the president’s call for a level 5 lockdown,’ says Popo Maja, spokesperson for the national department of health. ‘However, with the easing of the lockdown, the suspension was lifted in late June to allow for low-volume circumcisions in non hotspot districts/provinces.’ Figures shared by Maja show that in the first three quarters of this year, 111,766 medical circumcisions were conducted in South Africa, compared to 411,063 in the first three quarters of last year. This amounts to a drop of around 73%. As Maja explains…’it is clear that Covid-19 has severely affected and has negatively impacted on the routine performance of high-volume medical circumcisions nationally.’” READ MORE

11/26/20: Surge of Aids-related deaths feared as Covid pandemic puts gains at risk (the guardian)

“Failure to meet the 2020 target to reduce Aids-related deaths to 500,000 or less, and new HIV infections to the same figure or less, has come ‘at a terrible price.’ From 2015 to 2020, there were 3.5 million more HIV infections, and 820,000 more Aids-related deaths than there should have been if targets were met. Last year, 690,000 deaths were Aids-related, and 1.7 million new infections were recorded. ‘We are significantly off track on our global targets,’ said StopAids director Mike Podmore. ‘Even before the advent of Covid-19, we knew we were behind and the impact of the pandemic has pushed us farther back, while also jeopardising future progress.’” READ MORE

11/26/20: Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre (UNAIDS)

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching effects on health systems and other public services. In many countries, HIV services have been disrupted, and supply chains for key commodities have been stretched. Around the world fewer people are being diagnosed with HIV and fewer people living with HIV are starting HIV treatment. As this report shows, the global HIV response was off track even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the collision of COVID-19 and HIV has sent it back further. The Fast-Track Targets, which expire at the end of this year, will not be achieved. Thirty-eight million people are living with HIV, with more than 12 million people waiting for life-saving HIV treatment. In 2019, 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV and 690 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.” READ MORE

11/26/20: 123 Die Daily As Quality of Healthcare Declines (the monitor – uganda)

“The [2019/2020 Annual Health Sector Performance Report] indicated that 51 per cent of the facilities did not have sufficient (95 per cent) of essential medicines and health supplies for handling patients. ‘The percentage of health facilities having more than 95 per cent availability of key commodities dropped to 46 per cent in 2019/2020 from 53 per cent in 2018/2019,’ the report reads. This is below the [Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP)] target of 75 per cent. Up to 67 per cent of the facilities did not have adequate antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), 33 per cent had inadequate TB drugs, and 54 per cent lacked laboratory commodities for testing malaria and other diseases. According to the report, the public health sector staffing level against the approved posts declined to 73 per cent (47,932/65,271) in 2019/2020 FY from 76 per cent in 2018/2019. This is below the HSDP target of 80 per cent. ‘Overall, the stock of qualified health professionals available for employment in the health sector increased from 107,284 in FY 2018/2019 to 114,740 in FY 2019/2020. This is attributed to government commitment to attract and retain a competent health workforce in Uganda,’ the report reads. The report found that hospitals admissions reduced to 7.2 per 100 in 2019/2020 from 7.3 per 100 population in 2018/2019. The HSDP target was 10 per 100. According to the report, the admissions were most affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.” READ MORE

11/30/20: HIV, TB tests fall in East Europe and Central Asia due to COVID-19 (reuters)

“Testing for HIV and tuberculosis has fallen in Eastern Europe and Central Asia during the coronavirus pandemic and could lead to higher mortality rates, a U.N. special envoy for AIDS said on Wednesday. Restrictions to curb the new coronavirus and the repurposing of health facilities to treat COVID-19 patients has contributed to fewer HIV and TB cases being detected, said Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. Special Advisor to the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. ‘The consequence of that will be further delay for the region in reaching the UN targets, most likely increased mortality,’ he told an online briefing.” READ MORE

11/25/20: A child infected with HIV every 100 seconds, new UN report reveals (UN NEWS)

“’Children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. This was even before COVID-19 interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services putting countless more lives at risk,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. According to UNICEF, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened inequalities in access to life-saving HIV) services for children, adolescents and pregnant mothers everywhere, and there are serious concerns that one-third of high HIV burden countries could face coronavirus-related disruptions. ‘Even as the world struggles in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the ravages of the HIV epidemic,’ said Ms. Fore.” READ MORE

11/25/20: COVID-19 controls used to arrest, torture HIV sufferers (sci dev net)

“’Sadly, it seems that we have not learned the lesson HIV has tried to teach us: epidemics expose and exacerbate existing inequities and impact most negatively on those who are already marginalised,’ says Felicita Hikuam, director of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa. ‘We know from our experiences with HIV that public health approaches that are not in line with human rights can undermine a pandemic response,’ says UNAIDS in Rights in a Pandemic, its 16-country review of COVID-19 policies. ‘Current responses in many countries have resulted in significant breaches of rights, including of people who are living with or vulnerable to HIV — some of which have already cost lives.’ The number of people living with HIV and LGBTQ+ people who have been arrested in Uganda has at least doubled since March, human rights organisations report. The [Bureau of Investigative Journalism] has learned of more than 100 cases across the country in which police or the military have been accused of using new powers brought in during the pandemic to arrest, extort or imprison people from these communities. Many of the people imprisoned have been denied access to healthcare, including the residents of a LGBTQ+ homeless shelter in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, who were arrested in March after their shelter was raided.” READ MORE

11/25/20: 45,000 People Living With HIV in Nigeria Died in 2019 – UNAIDS (premium times – nigeria)

“In his remarks, Director-General of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, said Nigeria has adopted the theme, ‘United to End AIDS in the Midst of COVID-19, So Get Tested’ due to the pandemic ravaging the world. He said the 2020 HIV/AIDS response is different because of the coronavirus outbreak. ‘We have heard and seen the impact of it on HIV programs. Even though we are scrutinising our data to find out the real impact on people living with HIV and AIDS. One thing that we know without looking at our data, we know that in terms of very economic realities, COVID-19 has had an adverse economic impact compared to other outbreak population,’ he said. He noted that the agency has launched a project, Prevent, Protect and Empower in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and supported by UNAIDS. He said the project will focus on women living with HIV/AIDS because of their vulnerability. ‘We are focusing on women simply because in terms of equality when it comes to businesses and empowerment, women are disadvantaged. I want to make sure that, first of all, we take care of women living with HIV and AIDS before we focus our attention to men,’ he said.” READ MORE

11/24/20: World AIDS Day 2020 message from UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima (UNAIDS)

“’COVID-19 is threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development over the past 20 years, including the gains we have made against HIV. Like all epidemics, it is widening the inequalities that already existed. Gender inequality, racial inequality, social and economic inequalities. We are becoming a more unequal world. I am proud that over the past year the HIV movement has mobilized to defend our progress, to protect people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups and to push the coronavirus back. Whether campaigning for multimonth dispensing of HIV treatment, organizing home deliveries of medicines or providing financial assistance, food and shelter to at-risk groups, HIV activists and affected communities have again shown they are the mainstay of the HIV response. I salute you! It is the strength within communities, inspired by a shared responsibility to each other, that has contributed in great part to our victories over HIV. Today, we need that strength more than ever to beat the colliding epidemics of HIV and COVID-19. Friends, in responding to COVID-19, the world cannot make the same mistakes it made in the fight against HIV, when millions in developing countries died waiting for treatment. Even today, more than 12 million people are still waiting to get on HIV treatment and 1.7 million people became infected with HIV in 2019 because they could not access essential services.’ [UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima]” READ MORE

11/23/20: Sudan’s Crises Are Debilitating an Already Fragile Country (Institute for Security Studies – Sudan)

“Stagnant water pools caused by the flooding have also led to a massive outbreak of water-borne diseases. The number of people at risk of contracting such diseases has now nearly doubled. By the end of September, more than 1.1 million malaria cases had been reported throughout the country and the disease had reached epidemic levels in 15 of Sudan’s 18 states. Responding to this element of the crisis is particularly challenging because the country’s health systems have been harshly affected by the economic crisis and global disruptions to supply chains due to COVID-19. Medical shortages have disproportionately affected women, children and vulnerable communities. Maternal clinics have closed, interrupting the delivery of reproductive health services and more than 110 000 children are unable to access essential vaccines.” READ MORE

11/23/20: Portuguese Language Countries Launch Lusophone TB Caucus (bezinga – mozambique)

“This disparity between [Community of Portuguese Speaking Language Countries (CPLP)] countries is not only evident in the number of TB cases but also in the way it is financed, prevented, diagnosed and treated, and this raised an important question among political leaders in the region: Is it possible to find synergy in the response between the countries? Now more than ever, and with the threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic disruptions to TB Services, it is more than important to join forces in the fight against TB. ‘Challenges and constraints created by COVID-19 add to the already existent need for more financing and cooperation dedicated to the fight against TB,’ stated Hon Dra Carolina Cerqueira, Angola State Minister for Social Area.” READ MORE

11/22/20: The sudden focus on Covid-19 has derailed tuberculosis response worldwide (scroll – india)

“’With attention focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, resources from government TB programmes around the world, including in India, have been diverted to the Covid-19 response,’ says Grania Brigden, director of The Union, a global organisation working on TB and other lung-related issues. ‘I fear we can expect the number of ‘missing millions’ in TB increasing again after all the work that has been done to find the missing cases of TB,’ Brigden says. She is referring to the millions of undiagnosed and untreated cases of TB in India and other countries.” READ MORE

11/22/20: Children go digital in crucial malaria drug trials (standard media – kenya)

“Experts also pushed for the restart of malaria studies during a special session of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s annual conference last week. ‘We risk losing investment in malaria research worth more than 63 billion and an incalculable number of lives unless the activities are restarted now,’ said RBM Partnership to End Malaria CEO Abdourahmane Diallo. Novartis head of malaria programme Caroline Boulton said, ‘Covid took us all by surprise at a time we were trying to initiate four different malaria clinical studies.’ Dr Boulton told the conference that some of the study sites had been turned into Covid-19 isolation and treatment centres, forcing them to innovate. To reduce person-to-person interactions, and the risk of corona infections, she said they had to shift most activities to digital platforms.” READ MORE

11/22/20: COVID-19 eroded gains made in Tuberculosis control – Health Minister, Ehanire (daily post – nigeria)

“[Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire] said in 2019, Nigeria recorded 13% increase in TB notification while 74% of the target for PLHIV placed on TB Preventive Therapy was also achieved. He, however, confirmed that the advent of COVID-19 pandemic affected efforts put in place to address the disease. Meanwhile, the Deputy Executive Director, Stop TB Partnership Secretariat in Geneva, Suvanand Sahu lamented that many countries were not on track to meet the United Nations High-Level Meeting, target of 2018 and 2022. She revealed that the Tuberculosis control community is currently working on how to fast track the development of TB vaccine, noting that the search has led to 14 candidate vaccines which were under different stages of trials. ‘Just like any other diseases TB vaccine trial are very lengthy trials going up to 15 years.’ he said. ‘Researchers recently presented to the Stop TB board some ideas on, how to shorten vaccine research and development time for Tb, learning from the experience of COVID.’” READ MORE

11/21/20: Why Covid-19 has reversed gains in treatment of tuberculosis (the Standard health – kenya)

“The report shows that 70 per cent of Kenyans with TB reported not receiving enough support during the pandemic, 50 per cent said they feared contracting the virus at a health facility and another 50 per cent said they felt ashamed because of similar symptoms of TB and Covid-19. ‘Earlier this year, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world with devastating impact, and governments around the world quickly adopted new policies and laws in response,’ said Dr Lucica Ditiu, STBP Executive Director. She said TB remains the top infectious disease killer even though it is preventable and curable. ‘To make matters worse, most countries still use outdated policies, practices, tools and treatment regimens. We all must ensure that every single person affected by TB is diagnosed and treated using the latest available international guidelines and tools,’ Ditiu said.” READ MORE

11/21/20: Global Fund: Nigeria to receive $143m to fight tuberculosis (premium times – nigeria)

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which struck the world in December, has jeopardised global efforts to save millions of lives from other existing diseases. [Senior disease coordinator at Global Fund, Eliud Wanerdwalo] said health systems are overstretched due to the unprecedented global health emergency, leading to serious restrictions in access to TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services. ‘Globally, these disruptions could result in an additional 6.3 million people developing tuberculosis and 1.4 million additional deaths resulting from TB between 2020 and 2025,’ he said. TB is one of the vaccine-preventable killer diseases, which is also curable.” READ MORE

11/20/20: Turning COVID-19 Crisis Into Opportunity: Dr Harsh Vardhan Strategises TB Eradication By 2025 (medical dialogues – india)

“Acknowledging that COVID-19 has turned the clock back by many years, if not decades, in the fight against infectious diseases, Dr. Harsh Vardhan [Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare] said, ‘The deadly virus has derailed our painstaking efforts of many decades and diverted scientific attention from many infectious killer diseases like TB. The lockdowns have raised insurmountable barriers for patients and people are still living in fear of the Coronavirus. We all know that the last ten months have seen treatment interruptions, hindered availability of drugs, shrinking supply of diagnostic tests, delays in diagnosis, interrupted supply chains, diversion of manufacturing capacity and imposition of physical barriers for patients who must travel to distant clinics to pick up the medications.’” READ MORE

11/19/20: How to save kids from the pandemic fallout (Politico)

“When coronavirus restrictions were announced in Malawi this spring, there was a sharp dropoff in the number of children showing up sick at the pediatric ward of the Kamuzu Central Hospital in the capital Lilongwe. ‘We were so shocked,’ said Andreas Schultz, a German physician working there at the time. It was during the high season for malaria cases, when usually between 600 and 800 children would be admitted in the hospital every day in previous years, he told Global Pulse. Now 220 on averagewere showing up. ‘Where are these children? It doesn’t mean they are not sick any longer,’ he said. There’s no official tally of how many Malawi children have died because of a lack of health care during the pandemic, but Schultz estimates it could be as high as 4,400 from malaria alone during just the first six months.Meanwhile, some 6,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country so far, accounting for 185 deaths. The imbalance led Schultz and other hospital colleaguesto wonder if the country’s children were being sacrificed unnecessarily.” READ MORE

11/19/20: Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 – Lesotho (UNICEF –LESOTHO)

“Access to health services remains limited, especially in rural areas, due to the long distances to facilities. COVID-19 has overstretched health systems and disrupted health service continuity. With the second highest HIV prevalence globally and in the absence of community HIV services due to COVID-19, Lesotho is facing heightened risks of HIV and unplanned pregnancies. Adolescents and young people could be more vulnerable to new HIV infections, gender-based violence, unwanted pregnancies and child marriage, increasing the need for mental health and psychosocial support.” READ MORE

11/19/20: HIV does not increase risk for COVID-19 hospitalization (healio)

“’With the advancement of ART, people with HIV are living longer and are increasingly diagnosed with new or multiple comorbidities, particularly among our communities of color. Therefore, while HIV immunosuppression was not associated with an increased risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization, the indirect measures of HIV and aging as manifested by comorbidities did correlate with hospitalization for COVID-19,’ [Michael D. Virata, MD, FACP, assistant professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine] said. ‘Overall, we were encouraged by the good short-term outcomes. However, we still need to understand some of the long-term morbidity and mortality possibilities for people with HIV and COVID-19.’” READ MORE

11/19/20: How World Organizations Fight the Health Crisis in African Countries (borgen magazine)

“The United Nations’ AIDS response in Côte d’Ivoire is providing health kits amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the Central African Republic, the United Nations is also helping the humanitarian crisis by providing resources for citizens affected personally by COVID-19. To address the pandemic and other diseases, the United Nations is sending trained professionals to South Africa to provide care and guidance for citizens. UNAIDS is also helping South Africans through increased testing and treatment for those living with the illness. Ultimately, the citizens of these countries are impoverished and in need of better healthcare provisions. With sustained funding from these organizations, the health crisis in African countries can be eradicated in the next decade.” READ MORE

11/19/20: Tuberculosis – Buhari Calls for Urgent Int’l Response On Cases (premium times – nigeria)

“President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the international community to use the latest technology and tools to address the Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. In his goodwill message to the roundtable conference of the Board of the ‘Global Stop TB Partnership,’ the Nigerian leader expressed concern that efforts at ending a preventable and curable disease like TB were now complicated because of COVID-19. The president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said Mr Buhari addressed the roundtable session of ministers of Health during the 33rd Board Meeting of the Global Stop TB Partnership. ‘As I mentioned during the UN High Level Meeting in 2018, it is now even more urgent that the global community, especially the African region, act in unison with rededicated efforts, using the latest available technology and tools to address the TB epidemic.’” READ MORE

11/19/20: Opinion: Why exciting results from vaccine research are just the beginning of efforts to end COVID-19 (devex)

“In under a year, SARS-CoV-2 has already caused more than 56 million infections and 1.3 million deaths. Any true analysis of the pandemic’s toll, however, must go beyond those devastating numbers to include the impact of COVID-19 on childhood immunizations, sexual and reproductive health, noncommunicable disease programs, and global efforts to reduce HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and countless other diseases. With HIV alone, COVID-19 has diminished access to critical prevention and treatment supplies such as condoms and antiretroviral drugs, shuttered clinics, and reduced testing.” READ MORE

11/18/20: That covid-19 does not stop essential health services (pledge times)

“Detection and treatment of HIV and tuberculosis are not exempt. In South Africa, one of the countries most affected for both diseases, the lack of tests for tuberculosis during quarantine reduced diagnoses by 33%. The number of TB or HIV patients who withdraw medications according to schedule also decreased; non-compliance with protocols will ultimately lead to more drug resistance, treatment failure, and increased treatment costs. But other countries, including Rwanda, New Zealand and Taiwan have achieved a remarkable continuity of essential health services. For example, Taiwan kept low-cost universal health coverage running throughout the pandemic, and Rwanda did the same with a new radiotherapy center for the treatment of cancer. In Sierra Leone – where one in 17 mothers are at risk of dying in childbirth — a mass communication campaign joint Koidu State Hospital in Kono district and NGO Partners In Health In encouraging pregnant women to use maternal health services, it was able to reverse a marked reduction in the number of prenatal medical visits.” READ MORE

11/18/20: COVID-19 has diverted scientific attention from killer diseases like TB: Harsh Vardhan (financial express – India)

“Acknowledging that COVID-19 has turned the clock back by many years, if not decades, in the fight against infectious diseases, Dr. Harsh Vardhan [Minister of Health and Family Welfare] said, ‘The deadly virus has derailed our painstaking efforts of many decades and diverted scientific attention from many infectious killer diseases like TB. The lockdowns have raised insurmountable barriers for patients and people are still living in fear of the Coronavirus. We all know that the last ten months have seen treatment interruptions, hindered availability of drugs, shrinking supply of diagnostic tests, delays in diagnosis, interrupted supply chains, diversion of manufacturing capacity and imposition of physical barriers for patients who must travel to distant clinics to pick up the medications.’” READ MORE

November 2020: pipeline report 2020 tuberculosis vaccines (treatment action group)

“There is a real risk that the COVID-19 pandemic will upset even the most perfect of plans drawn up by TB vaccine developers. The global acceleration of COVID-19 in February and March had the immediate effect of temporarily halting most PIPELINE REPORT 2020 TB clinical research. Trial sites had to suspend study enrollment and rethink everything from participant visit schedules to adverse event monitoring to sample transport to community engagement. Research is resuming in some locations, but a resurgence in COVID-19 would impose further delays. Countries such as India and South Africa that host a majority of the world’s TB vaccine clinical trials are also grappling with the largest COVID-19 epidemics in their regions. In the long run, advocates worry that massive investments in COVID-19 research will divert funding away from TB and other global health challenges.” READ MORE

November 2020: Pipeline report 2020 Prep and microbicides (treatment action group)

“An overarching concern for these pipelines is that the current COVID-19 crisis is likely to affect all ongoing clinical research. Statements issued by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) explain that, in general, new studies are on hold while screening and enrollment in ongoing trials is paused. Protocol teams are working on safe and feasible means to ensure continued follow up of currently enrolled participants. The MTN has also provided information on the status of individual trials. The Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the FDA have both issued guidance on responding to the current challenging situation. The full extent of the impact of COVID-19 on research will not be clear until the pandemic abates.” READ MORE

11/18/20: TB policies aren’t working. Here’s why. (devex)

“’National treatment programs for TB must have the resources they need to make sure testing and treatment can be adopted and implemented immediately. After all, governments have signed on the dotted line to end TB, but they can only do that if they take the proper steps today to get more people tested and put on treatment for TB,’ [Sharonann] Lynch [senior TB policy advisor for Doctors Without Borders’ Access Campaign] told Devex. ‘But donors, too, should ensure there is enough funding available for TB programs, and that ‘we don’t backslide further by letting COVID-19 distract us while TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease,’ she added.” READ MORE

11/18/20: COVID-19 will make it harder to eliminate HIV in region, despite prompting surprising innovation (Mirage news – australia)

“In Papua New Guinea, where ASHM [Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine] runs programs supporting HIV health workers, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced HIV services to adapt to provide treatment and support for people living with HIV, closer to their community. For example, some clinics are now dispensing multiple months of HIV medications at once, meaning that people living with HIV have fewer clinic visits, reducing possible exposure to COVID-19. Other clinics have been able to deliver medications directly to people at home, and some have trialled mobile phone screening and support for patients. The use of technology prompted by COVID-19 has enabled ongoing training for health workers via online education, and increased use of mobile and social media has also allowed greater reach when sending evidence-based information on COVID-19 during the response.” READ MORE

11/17/20: CSOs reveal ways to effectively tackle TB, HIV, COVID-19, others (Daily Post – Nigeria)

“The National Professional Officer (NPO-TB) at the WHO, Dr. Ayodele Awe, who is also leading the forum’s intervention efforts explained that civil society organisations need to strengthen existing advocacy structures in rural communities for effective intervention in disease control. ‘Integrating community system strengthening for effective control of HIV, TB, malaria and COVID-19 response is very important. Civil Society Organisations play important roles in national development, particularly at the community level.’ Awe explained that the community remains the operational level for TB control and response as about 75% of cases in the communities are not being detected. ‘Some civil society organisations work at the community level but we are still not doing well in TB detection at the community level particularly because of COVID-19 pandemic,’ he added.” READ MORE

11/17/20: Impact of Covid-19 in Africa: a scenario analysis to 2030 (chronicle – Zimbabwe)

“Governments must ensure that their focus on Covid-19 does not result in an increase in co-morbidity, such as malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis-related deaths. Despite a target of a minimum of 15 percent of public revenue spending to be allocated to healthcare, this target has not been reached by most African countries. Additionally, due to Covid-19, there is the potential for external healthcare funding levels to decline, which will exacerbate the strain on budgets and health spending. Beyond the obvious policy implication of increased and targeted healthcare spending, African countries and partners need to ensure the adoption of a comprehensive approach to healthcare. This means that issues like maternal health, HIV, TB and malaria, are not neglected even in this extraordinary time.” READ MORE

11/16/20: Ethiopian girls trapped in sex trade as COVID-19 deepens desperation (The Himalayan Times – Ethiopia)

“Ethiopia has at least 99,675 confirmed COVID-19 cases – with about 1,520 deaths – the latest health ministry data shows. Social workers in Metema and Gondar said they tried to refer girls in the sex trade for counselling, family planning and HIV testing – which are provided by NGOs – but that fear, shame and a lack of awareness stopped many girls accessing such services. Researchers and campaigners fear that school closures, job losses and economic slowdown caused by coronavirus could drive more children nationwide to swap the countryside for cities, where they are more at risk of labour or sexual exploitation. A World Bank survey in June of 3,250 Ethiopian households found that 13% of people had lost their jobs since COVID-19 and at least half had seen their incomes drop or disappear entirely. [Netsanet Kindu, Metema town administration’s labour and social affairs team leader] said more women and girls in the sex trade had sought help in recent months but her office had limited budget to support vulnerable communities, from sex workers to street children, and called on the federal government for more funding.” READ MORE

11/16/20: ‘A modern tragedy’: millions miss out on latest treatments for TB (the telegraph)

“Dr [Lucica] Ditiu [Stop TB Partnership Executive Director] outlined the vast disparity in how TB research was organised and funded compared to TB. ‘There are 47 vaccines in human trial phases for Covid-19, all developed in less than a year,’ she said. ‘For TB, over several years we have just one vaccine in human trials.’ She said that even if current funding levels were maintained, the TB vaccine wouldn’t come online until 2027. Grania Brigden of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease said if the world had taken steps to fight TB it would have been in a stronger position to fight Covid-19. ‘What we are seeing today, in terms of the numbers of people dying from TB and from Covid-19, or being co-infected, is the consequence of broken promises and broken public health,’ said Grania Brigden of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.” READ MORE

11/16/20: Remote mentoring to ensure continuity of malaria service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, and Cameroon (malaria matters)

“To ensure the continuity and safety of malaria service delivery during the pandemic and associated lockdowns, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire (CI), and Cameroon transitioned from in-person, facility-based mentorship for health care providers to phone-based e-mentorship. Working with the 3 National Malaria Control Programs, an e-mentoring package was developed and provided to mentors including technical guidance on malaria service delivery during COVID-19, a sample call guide, and a call tracker. Mentorship calls focused on continuity of malaria service delivery and applying WHO and PMI COVID-related guidance on triaging of patients and infection control measures. From April to June, Zimbabwe reached 134 providers in 24 of 25 health facilities that previously received in-person mentorship. CI reached 41 providers in 33 facilities, where mentors already worked with staff in-person. Cameroon reached 179 providers in 116 lower performing facilities. In Zimbabwe, e-mentorship identified malaria commodity shortfalls and over-stocking, and facilitated re-distribution. Mentors advocated successfully for provision of PPE.” READ MORE

11/16/20: India’s syndemic of tuberculosis and COVID-19 (BMj Global health – india)

“Across [India], the number of persons admitted for inpatient treatment fell for many diseases including malaria, dengue and TB. In June 2020, the number of people admitted for inpatient TB treatment in these facilities fell to less than a third of the number in June 2019. Given the scale of administrative disruption, data quality is always a concern, as shown by the reports of the underestimation of COVID-19 deaths in the country. While the NHM-HMIS [National Health Mission’s Health Management Information System] typically includes updated data on the number of facilities reporting this information, the government has not released this data since April onwards, making it difficult to estimate the scale of missed data, if any. However, data from March suggest that unreported data cannot fully explain these numbers—there were in fact more health facilities reporting data in March 2020 than there were in March 2019…Other official data confirm the NHM trends for TB. Data from the Nikshay database. India’s national TB case notification system, show that notifications fell most sharply in April, and then revived somewhat in the months after.” READ MORE

11/16/20: Coronavirus crippling fight against other pandemic: TB (medical xpress)

“’What we are seeing today, in terms of the numbers of people dying from TB and from COVID-19, or being co-infected, is the consequence of broken promises and broken public health,’ said Grania Brigden, Director of the Tuberculosis Department, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. On the same day that Moderna announced its successful phase 3 vaccine trial results, [Stop TB Partnership Executive Director Lucica] Ditiu outlined the vast disparity in how TB research was organised and funded. ‘There are 47 vaccines in human trial phases for COVID-19, all developed in less than a year,’ she said. ‘For TB, over several years we have just one vaccine in human trials.’” READ MORE

11/16/20: Experts calculate lockdown impact on health services (news Vision – uganda)

“[HIV testing services] was the most affected service, nationally. The number of individuals receiving HIV testing services decreased by 98% in June 2020, compared to June 2019. With the exception of Serere district, there was significant drop in HIV testing nationally. Malaria testing services were also was affected nationally but not to a similar extent. The number of individuals receiving malaria testing services reduced by 65% in June 2020, compared to June 2019. Save for Kaberamaido and Isingiro districts, the rest of the districts experienced significant drops in the number of individuals testing for malaria in June 2020, compared to June 2019.” READ MORE

11/16/20: Coronavirus crippling fight against other pandemic: TB (Medical xpress)

“Doctors on Monday announced a new global study looking at the dual threat of COVID-19 among TB patients. While there is likely a clear link between COVID-19 mortality and TB—given they are both severe lung infections—there has up to now been little comprehensive research on how the two diseases interact. In a letter published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, doctors said they were looking at more than 600 COVID-19/TB patients across 36 countries with the aim of better understanding how to prevent and manage this double curse.’ ‘What we are seeing today, in terms of the numbers of people dying from TB and from COVID-19, or being co-infected, is the consequence of broken promises and broken public health,’ said Grania Brigden, Director of the Tuberculosis Department, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.” READ MORE

11/15/20: Borno Administers Malaria Prevention Drugs On 2.1 Million Children (this day – nigeria)

“[Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saliyu Kwaya-Bura] said: ‘So we are aiming to prevent malaria in children as well as make it mild in case they contract malaria. These are drugs that are safe. We have done this before. This is going to be the last for this year. The exercise this year had a lot of challenges because of COVID-19, in terms of logistics, in terms of getting people and observing the protocols. However, despite that, I want to say that it has been a very successful exercise. We have been able to reach out to more than 90 per cent of our targeted population.’ Also speaking, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Molumbo, described the programme as part of measures to prevent malaria from killing children under the age of five years who are the most affected. He said in addition to the intervention, the Borno State government has provided bed nets to families so that they could sleep and be protected from bites of the mosquitoes. ‘These bed nets are treated with insecticides. The other intervention in the state is the indoor residual spraying, where we spray insecticides on the wall because when the mosquitoes finish biting they go to the wall to relax,’ Molumbo said.” READ MORE

11/14/20: Pakistan- Socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the transgender community (Menafn – Pakistan)

“Government and non-government stakeholders need to take into account the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized groups such as transgender persons while designing, implementing, and evaluating the measures to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on poor strata of the country. It is worth mention here that though the rights of the transgender community have been recognized under 2018, their basic needs have been neglected in the government response to COVID-19. Across the world including Pakistan, individuals living with HIV are having greater difficulty accessing lifesaving medications either due to the shutdown of health facilities or they were turned into testing and treatment sites for the virus, forcing many to become vulnerable to the infection of coronavirus.” READ MORE

11/13/20: Lockdown Increases HIV Threat (Lesotho Times – Lesotho)

“ ‘The numbers of new infections and HIV related deaths are worrying. The Ministry of Health has identified challenges during the Covid-19 lockdown where people on HIV treatment did not have adequate supply of medication. Many people did not go for their regular check-ups to get medication supplies for fear of getting infected with Covid-19 while visiting health centres. This has badly affected adherence.’ [Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo] The lockdown had an even worse impact on Basotho patients who are based in neighbouring South Africa due to travel restrictions. Many ran out of medication but could not refill, he said. ‘We had arranged for borderless health services with South Africa but most Basotho did not like the type of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) that South Africa was dispensing because they were different from what they got [b]ack home.’ ” READ MORE

11/12/20: Escalation of HIV adherence strategies amid COVID-19 (Al khaleej today)

“’The writing is on the wall’ that virtual care does not meet the needs of people living with HIV who struggled with virus suppression prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jason Farley, PhD, ANP-BC, AACRN, Associate Professor of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. It is time, therefore, for HIV care teams, particularly Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clinics, to get creative to provide full service to patients. This may mean redistributing the workforce so that one person acts as a community health worker. Or it could mean text and video calls are increasing. Helping patients find online support groups to address problems with alcohol or drug use; and conduct an overall assessment of patient needs over the course of the pandemic. ‘The virtual patient-centered medical home may be the new normal post COVID-19 and we need to think about how we can use this model on patients for whom it works, but complement this model on patients who do not’ Farley said at the 2020 annual virtual meeting of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC). This work ‘is essential to our ability to achieve the best possible patient outcomes.’” READ MORE

11/12/20: The Global Fund Board Discusses the Development of Its Next Strategy (Global Fund observer – nairobi)

“Some voices also insisted on innovation and flexibility in implementation as the Global Fund applies its sustainability, transition, and co-financing in the aftermath of COVID-19. Other voices proposed reinforcing global health security to fight current and future pandemics that could derail the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria. They highlighted the potential of better partnerships with multi-lateral and international organizations and in-country institutions such as civil society, communities, other government sectors, and the private sector. Many constituencies stated that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dual importance of health and community systems. Strengthening health systems will help fight HIV, TB, and malaria and sustain gains obtained in the last two decades of the fight against those three diseases. Community systems allow other community members-including people living with or affected by the three diseases-to reach out, educate and link to diagnosis or care other community members, especially the vulnerable and marginalized. Strengthening health and community systems will help the Global Fund partnership improve the quality of care and save lives.” READ MORE

11/12/20: ‘Delivering the Final Year of This Grant Cycle and Preparing for the Next One’ (Global fund observer – nairobi)

“…the effects of COVID-19 on TB patients have been dramatic: resources have been diverted, TB patients have been stigmatized, and the constant efforts to identify missing cases have been partly lost. The results for malaria treatment show deaths continuing to fall, albeit at a reduced rate. However, there is little progress in reducing the number of cases, and there are alarming increases in some of the highest burden countries. Additionally, COVID-19 has impeded the achievement of these ambitions, disrupting prevention and treatment across all three diseases. Roughly 70 percent of the service delivery programs across all three diseases have experienced disruptions. Rather than stepping up the fight against HIV, TB and malaria, much of the partnership’s efforts have had to focus on mitigating the damage and protecting gains.” READ MORE

11/12/20: AU, AWA experts call for renewed action to fight AIDS, TB, Malaria amid COVID-19 (National Accord – NIGERIA)

“’Countries are experiencing significant resource needs and rising fiscal needs on top of a health financing burden. I appreciate all the partners involved in the fight against AIDS, TB, malaria and strengthening health financing. Without their support, none of the work would be achieved,’ [Ms Shu-Shu Tekle-Haimanot, Global Fund] said. Rosemary Mburu, representing the [Civil Society Division], said it was dignifying to see the regional, concerted effort in managing COVID-19. ‘As Africa progresses to the next phase, there is positivity for a better job. There is potential to have the gains we have made reversed by the pandemic. Our call is to ensure that we safeguard the lessons and progress we have made as a continent. We must protect the gains on AIDS, TB and malaria, protect health systems and beat COVID-19. We do have the instruments and policies, where we stand is to ensure we have the leadership and political will that is needed.’” READ MORE

11/11/20: COVID-19 Situation report (the global fund)

“Health supply chain challenges in low and middle-income countries are nothing new. They include poor information systems, shortage of trained personnel, lack of appropriate equipment to store medicines, and poor roads and infrastructure leading to inadequate transport between central warehouses and local distribution points, a multitude of hard-to-reach rural villages, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated public health measures such as lockdowns and transport restrictions have made the situation even more challenging, affecting key materials and medicinal ingredients, finished health products, logistics and shipping. In Sudan, COVID-19 restrictions threatened to limit access to HIV and TB health supplies and services. Fuel shortages, inflation and movement restrictions meant transport costs increased significantly and reliability plummeted. Through Global Fund supported grants, partners including UNDP, the Federal Ministry of Health, and the National Medical Supplies Fund deployed a fleet of World Food Program trucks carrying 17 containers of HIV and TB medication and laboratory supplies providing five-months of supplies to Sudan’s eight most in-need states: Kassala, Gedarif, South, North and West Kordofan, Blue Nile, Sennar and East Darfur. Global Fund grants have also been reallocated to provide personal protective equipment for health workers across the country” READ MORE

11/11/20: How Can Countries Continue to Combat Malaria During a Pandemic? (African arguments)

“According to James Wallen, Malaria Programme Officer at Speak up Africa: ‘We have heard of mothers being afraid to take their young children to health centres when they have a fever out of fear of catching COVID-19, thereby potentially leaving them with untreated malaria.’ This is worrying given that children are at more risk from malaria than the coronavirus. 70% of malaria death are of children under five. It is also concerning if the broader population is avoiding getting medical help for malaria due to fears of catching COVID-19. In Sierra Leone, more than a quarter of the population is infected with malaria at any given time and 4 out of 10 of hospital consultations are for the often deadly disease. In the face of these concerns, Sierra Leone distributed 4.6 million bed nets nationwide in May and June despite the pandemic. They changed their strategy to ensure social distancing and provided healthcare workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). When lockdown measures made it difficult to carry out physical events, the campaign also shifted its focus to mass communications to amplify key messages across different platforms for different audiences.” READ MORE

11/10/20: Covid-19 Might Have Reversed the War Against a Serious Parasitic Disease (The Conversation)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the clock back by years in the fight against other diseases. It has interrupted research, trials and other efforts to ease the public health burden. A regimen for Parkinson’s disease, for example, was to begin clinical trials this year. But this was postponed because of the pandemic. Researchers have warned that if COVID-19 halts distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets, cases of malaria might increase by 206 million and malaria deaths by 379,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists predicted that deaths related to HIV could increase by 10%, tuberculosis by up to 20% and malaria by 36% over the next five years.” READ MORE

11/9/20: TB Tests Are Being Redirected to Diagnose Covid. Experts Warn of a Spike in Cases, Deaths (the swaddle – india)

“Bihar, which reportedly has one of the largest TB caseloads in the country, has already begun recording irregular, steep falls in its TB diagnoses, after 70% of the state’s TB control and testing staff was reassigned to Covid19 duty, indicating TB cases are going unidentified and untreated. ‘This is just one example of the very difficult choices that had to be taken to contain Covid19. It was obviously crucial that we tackle the pandemic but we cannot forget that we have other killers in our midst. We are going to have to be innovative in addressing them,’ Thomas Kenyon, chief health officer of Project Hope, an international healthcare NGO, told The Guardian. The economic impact of the pandemic is also expected to worsen TB risk factors, leading to a rise in cases even as diagnosis and treatment become farther out-of-reach. With poverty rates rising everywhere, more and more people are vulnerable to ‘overcrowded and substandard living or working conditions, poor nutrition, intercurrent disease (such as HIV/AIDS),’ among other factors associated with poverty, according to the WHO. These influences alone could increase TB cases by more than 1 million per year in the period between 2020 and 2025, according to WHO’s report.” READ MORE

11/8/20: How the Western Cape will tackle the TB epidemic (Cape Town etc– south africa)

“’We will continue to deliver medicines to people’s homes, and this will now ensure that stable TB patients receive their medication monthly. I was able to join a team of community health care workers delivering medicine in Langa a few months ago, and I was so impressed by the programme and the dedication of these workers’ [Premier Alan Winde]. Testing will also prove important in the battle of TB, as was the case with COVID-19, and the province will make use of increased testing capacity in the TB response. ‘The Western Cape Government received additional GeneXpert testing machines from the National Department of Health at the start of the pandemic to ramp up COVID-19 testing. As testing capacity eases, we will be also using this testing capacity in our response to TB.’ The Western Cape Government is also continuing with plans to allocate 30 beds at the Sonstraal Hospital for dedicated TB healthcare.” READ MORE

11/8/20: Covid set to cause 400,000 surge in TB deaths as medics diverted (The guardian)

“In many countries – including South Africa, India and Indonesia – doctors and health workers have been shifted from tracking TB cases to tracing people infected with Covid-19. Equipment and budgets have also been reassigned, an investigation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed. As a result, millions of TB diagnoses have been missed, and according to the WHO this is likely to result in 200,000 to 400,000 excess deaths from the disease this year alone, with a further million new cases occurring every year after that for the next five years. ‘This is just one example of the very difficult choices that had to be taken to contain Covid-19,’ said Thomas Kenyon, chief health officer of Project Hope, the humanitarian NGO. ‘It was obviously crucial that we tackle the pandemic but we cannot forget that we have other killers in our midst. We are going to have to be innovative in addressing them.’” READ MORE

11/7/20: High prevalence of pre-existing serological cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 in sub-Sahara Africa (international journal of infectious diseases)

“Our data suggests that populations in sub-Sahara Africa had been pre-exposed to a spectrum of HCoVs [human coronaviruses] that have provided some cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 and may have limited infections or pathogenesis on the continent. In support of this hypothesis, our study detected serological cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 antigens in pre-COVID-19 plasma samples from Tanzania and Zambia at levels nearly 8- and 6-fold, respectively, higher than the prevalence in samples from the USA. Additionally, by comparing the prevalence of serological cross-reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 between HIV-1 positive and negative Zambian individuals, we found that HIV-1 infection seem to lower the cross-reactive response towards SARS-CoV-2, which could be caused by a weakened immune response in HIV-1 infected individuals. However, a larger sample size of HIV-1 positive cohort will be needed to confirm this observation.” READ MORE

11/7/20: COVID-19 in the Indian Context and the Quest for Alternative Paradigms (EConomic & political Weekly – India)

“…along with local governments, a special mention of healthcare is clearly warranted to emphasise the need for revisiting the unjust healthcare system and arrangements the world over. It is now increasingly evident that with full attention devoted to COVID-19, whose caseload is mounting every day, the situation for non-COVID-19 health needs is assuming alarming dimensions because crucial health services like immunisation, hospital births, tuberculosis, and traditional diseases like malaria, dengue, etc, and even emergency medical needs are getting virtually sidelined.” READ MORE

11/7/20: As malaria season begins, COVID-19 complicates issues (THe zimbabwe daily)

“South Africa’s already heavily burdened healthcare system has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Routine healthcare such as tuberculosis and HIV services was severely disrupted. The World Health Organisation also warned that COVID-19 could significantly disrupt malaria control activities. South Africa responded rapidly by modifying malaria control practices and protocols. The goal was to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, malaria control staff and the communities they serve. As fever is a symptom of both malaria and COVID-19, people from malaria endemic districts were tested for both COVID-19 and malaria during the community-testing phase of the COVID-19 control strategy. South Africa’s strict lockdown restrictions on provincial and international movements greatly reduced the country’s malaria burden, with just over 1 000 cases reported between May and October this year. The opening of South Africa’s borders has generated much enthusiasm. But this increased mobility at the start of the country’s malaria season is a concern. Healthcare workers and the general public must remember that not all fevers are due to COVID-19. Other infectious diseases could be the cause. In addition, patients with fever must remember to provide detailed travel histories to their healthcare provider to assist with correct diagnosis.” READ MORE

11/6/20: Zimbabwe: Over 130,000 HIV Positive People in Mashonaland East On ART (the herald – zimbabwe)

“Goromonzi District Aids Coordinator Mr. Graham Mafoko presented the provincial position on treatment, care and support. ‘The call for universal access to treatment is bearing fruits as those tested and found positive were initiated on ART,’ said Mr. Mafoko. ‘By the end of the second quarter of this year, 137 554 people were initiated in Mashonaland East province. Different services, which are being offered in the districts, are contributing very much to the initiation of patients on ART. Awareness on ART has increased to the extent that adherence is high among people living with HIV, but some of the activities were adversely affected by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown. We also had some people failing to access drugs owing to the travel restrictions, as well as high transport costs.’” READ MORE

11/6/20: Covid-19 Affects Homebased Care Initiatives (the herald – zimbabwe)

“Some members of Seke Rural Home Based Care are appealing for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to enable them to carry out their duties without fear of getting Covid-19. Speaking to the Herald at the side lines of the Grassroots Women Resilience Building National Convention workshop in Harare on Tuesday, the home based care givers said unavailability of PPEs was putting them at risk of contracting diseases including Covid-19 thereby affecting voluntary work. They now only attend to few patients as compared to periods before the outbreak of Covid-19. ‘We look after the elderly, orphans and people living with HIV and our duty is to visit them and offer the utmost supportive care so that they can lead a decent life. Due to Covid-19 movement restrictions that were aimed at reducing further spread of the disease, we lost several members who were living with HIV because some defaulted in taking their anti-retroviral drugs. Depression was also rife because they also lacked counselling services since everyone was now locked indoors,’ said Alice Lutwaba of Ward ” READ MORE

11/5/20: COVID-19 hits life-saving health services in Africa (WHO Regional Office for Africa)

“The preliminary analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) of five key essential health service indicators that include outpatient consultation, inpatient admission, skilled birth attendance, treatment of confirmed malaria cases and provision of the combination pentavalent vaccine in 14 countries finds a sharp decline in these services between January and September 2020 compared with the two previous years. The gaps were the widest in May, June and July, corresponding to when many countries had put in place and enforced movement restrictions and other social and public health measures to check the spread of COVID-19.” READ MORE

11/5/20: As the Malaria Season Begins in Southern Africa, Covid-19 Complicates the Picture (The Conversation– South Africa)

“South Africa’s already heavily burdened healthcare system has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Routine healthcare such as tuberculosis and HIV services was severely disrupted. The World Health Organisation also warned that COVID-19 could significantly disrupt malaria control activities. South Africa responded rapidly by modifying malaria control practices and protocols. The goal was to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, malaria control staff and the communities they serve. As fever is a symptom of both malaria and COVID-19, people from malaria endemic districts were tested for both COVID-19 and malaria during the community-testing phase of the COVID-19 control strategy. South Africa’s strict lockdown restrictions on provincial and international movements greatly reduced the country’s malaria burden, with just over 1,000 cases reported between May and October this year. The opening of South Africa’s borders has generated much enthusiasm. But this increased mobility at the start of the country’s malaria season is a concern. Healthcare workers and the general public must remember that not all fevers are due to COVID-19. Other infectious diseases could be the cause. In addition, patients with fever must remember to provide detailed travel histories to their healthcare provider to assist with correct diagnosis.” READ MORE

11/4/20: The Eastern Cape government is mum on TB plans and numbers (City Press – South Africa)

“A community health worker at Motherwell Clinic, who asked not to be named as she has not been authorized to speak to the media, says the Eastern Cape already had a high rate of treatment interruption and Covid-19 made it worse. She says the treatment is often interrupted at different points. Some patients stop treatment when they show improvement, and others who are diagnosed never start taking treatment. ‘A huge number of our patients don’t finish their treatments because of stigma and poverty,’ she says. ‘Before the outbreak of Covid-19, patients used to get nutritional supplements just to have at least one meal a day, because it is essential for TB patients to eat before taking their medication. During the lockdown, civic organisations that used to supply food to patients stopped due to lockdown restrictions, hence some of our patients are no longer coming for their treatment despite being critically ill,’ she says. ‘Relocations to new areas and patients who give false addresses make it difficult for us to trace them.’” READ MORE

11/4/20: Public Health in South Africa (borgen magazine – south africa)

“In South Africa, a new syndemic has emerged, involving HIV/AIDS, TB and COVID-19. Studies show that the three diseases collectively worsen one another. HIV increases a COVID-19 patient’s risk of death by a factor of 2.75, while also increasing a patient’s risk of having active TB by a factor of 2.58. Because HIV affects the immune system and TB damages the lungs, both are likely to increase the severity of COVID-19. The effects of syndemics can be social as well. Crucial resources for HIV and TB are being diverted to the COVID-19 response. The number of TB tests conducted dropped by half because patients could not visit clinics during the lockdown. The lockdown also prevented patients from accessing their TB and HIV medications. However, the pandemic offers an opportunity to reform public health in South Africa by addressing the HIV-TB-COVID-19 syndemic.” READ MORE

11/3/20: How ingenuity, experience and decisive leadership helped to manage coronavirus in Africa (ghanaweb)

“19. South Africa’s playbook for containing the coronavirus is rooted in the country’s decades-long battle with HIV/AIDs. Home to the largest number of HIV patients on the continent, and with a fairly recent past mired with prominent HIV deniers, a lack of access to Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs), and 300,000 lost souls, the government swiftly and strictly implemented a total lockdown within the first three weeks of detecting the first case, before a single Covid-19 related death had occurred, and despite an ongoing economic recession. South Africa’s experience with HIV/AIDS established more than just a cautious COVID-19 containment strategy. Managing HIV/AIDs and its twin ailment, TB, required strong public health protocols and systems that could easily be redeployed in the fight against COVID-19. Particularly because disease prevention protocols for both TB and COVID-19 are similar given common means of transmission via exhaled infected droplets, using PPE and social distancing measures was already familiar to the population and easily reintroduced. However, many South Africans, afraid of being stigmatized after testing positive for COVID-19, would rather not test at all, a trait that lingered on from HIV/AIDs stigmatization.” READ MORE

11/3/20: A tale of two Jamaican clinics during COVID-19 (unaids)

“The University Hospital of the West Indies’ CHARES has been a best practice model for HIV treatment in Jamaica. For the island as a whole, 79% of those on treatment were virally suppressed last year. At CHARES, however, an impressive nine in every 10 clients are virally suppressed and therefore keep healthy and are unable to transmit the virus. But even for this accomplished programme, COVID-19 has presented significant challenges. Laboratory support has been diverted toward COVID-19 and there has been a backlog in receiving viral load testing results. CHARES had been used to writing three-month prescriptions for stable clients, but since COVID-19, state-run pharmacies have been dispensing only a one-month supply. This is part of the government’s strategy to avoid stock-outs given the supply chain challenges at this time, but it means that those on treatment need to go out to get their medicines more often. CHARES has begun home deliveries, particularly for older people, who are more reluctant to venture out given the novel coronavirus risk. COVID-19 containment measures have increased the need for mental health support. Income loss, school closures and curfews have placed an added strain on thousands of Jamaican households, including many people living with HIV. But when clients are referred to psychiatric support in the main hospital they rarely go for fear of experiencing discrimination. Further, since the hospital in which CHARES is located is a designated COVID-19 treatment site, some clients have opted to stay away.” READ MORE

11/2/20: Haiti has cut malaria cases in half. Its successful efforts must continue (miami herald)

“Before a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Haiti, we developed a multi-sector action plan —now under way — to confront this outbreak. The plan reflects the strategic vision of the Haitian government to build on the community-outreach component of our health system to respond to deadly, infectious diseases. Consequently, initiatives to fight tuberculosis and HIV and, particularly to eliminate malaria, remain a priority in tandem with our COVID-19 response. As a result, we have stepped up additional measures of communication with the public to prevent delays in the tracking, testing and treatment of each malaria case in urban and rural areas. We have had dynamic technical and financial support from partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC Foundation, The Carter Center, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and other “Malaria Zero” partners, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).” READ MORE

11/2/20: Zim Sets 2025 HIV Target (the herald – zimbabwe)

“[Dr Bernard Madzima, National Aids Council chief executive officer] said although the Covid-19 pandemic affected some of their programmes, they put in place mechanisms to ensure continued access to medication for HIV patients. ‘Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, HIV and AIDS programmes like any other programmes also suffered because most of our programmes in communities require us to gather people around sharing information and those who are positive need to visit health centres to access their medications,’ said Dr Madzima. ‘All that suffered, but we came up with innovative ways to make sure clients continuously get their medication. We increased the supply of drugs and asked hospitals to give our clients three months’ supply. In some cases, we used community anti-retroviral treatment refill groups where a health worker would collect drugs on behalf of a group in his/her community.’” READ MORE

11/2/20: People Living With HIV Now Get Drugs to Last for Three Months  (premium times – Nigeria)

“Many hospitals in Nigeria now dispense drugs that will last for three months to people living with HIV. Kenna Nwakanma, First Co-chairperson, Coalition of Civil Society Networks on HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the Covid-19 challenge and concerns over supply chain informed the decision. ‘With COVID19, most of the hospitals were forced to do multi-months dispensing of drugs like we have long advocated, and it has worked perfectly,’ he said. Mr Nwakanma explained that the practice would go a long way in reducing the pressure exerted on frontline health workers who were forced to see patients that had no complaints. The co-chairperson said that the practice had reduced the rate at which patients spent money not just on drugs, but on transportation to and from hospitals.” READ MORE

11/2/20: The world could learn a lot from how Africa is handling Covid-19 (wired)

“With Covid-19 fatality rates across Africa remaining low, Van Cutsem is more concerned about deaths caused by a healthcare system badly disrupted by the pandemic. As a result, many people were unable to collect treatments for HIV and tuberculosis. Vaccinations for malaria and other chronic diseases were stopped. While much of the world grapples with a second wave of Covid-19 infections, the fear in Africa is that cases of other diseases could surge instead. That may already be happening. From May to August, more than 33,000 excess deaths were recorded in South Africa. Of these, 9,000 were from Covid-19. That leaves 24,000 deaths unaccounted for. Where and when the deaths occurred – as well as the age groups affected – suggest a large number of unrecorded Covid-19 deaths, but other factors may be at play.” READ MORE

11/1/20: Curbing rising cases of HIV amid Covid-19 (Punch – nigeria)

“It is frightening that these statistics may be exacerbated by the interruptions in the HIV response caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with the [National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)] admitting to have lost contact with 51,000 persons living with HIV during the lockdown and recorded over 20,000 deaths within the same period. Some persons living with HIV were denied access to treatment centres because some of the facilities had been converted to isolation centres, while there was also a restriction of movement. Consequently, the use of antiretroviral drugs declined by 45 percent.” READ MORE

10/31/20: Massive spike in TB infections (independent online – south africa)

“‘The Impact of Covid-19 Intervention on TB Testing in South Africa report indicates that the average test volume during the non-intervention period was 47,520 per week, while it was 24,574 during the lockdown period, which was a 48% decline. The lockdown restriction has therefore caused unintended negative impact on all efforts of TB programme management. The implications of undiagnosed TB are serious and will compromise past successes in reducing the burden and mortality associated with drug-sensitive and drug-resistance tuberculosis.’ There was a 40% decline in TB cases diagnosed between March and April this year at the beginning of lockdown, and April 2020, compared with the previous year, saw a 47% decrease in cases. [Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Natalie Watlington] also said many existing diagnosed patients missed their medical appointments during lockdown due to lack of transport, social distancing and the messaging to stay at home. In addition to hospital facilities, [Premier Alan Winde] said that some of the services put in place during lockdown for Covid-19 would be repurposed to serve TB patients.” READ MORE

10/31/20: How covid-19 hinders the fight against malaria (the economist)

“By combining new tools with bednets, pills and spraying, Senegal hopes to eliminate malaria by 2030. Ending it worldwide is further off. The Lancet, a medical journal, said last year that it could be done within a generation, if $6bn a year were spent on prevention instead of $4.3bn. The covid-driven global recession could make it harder to raise such sums. Anti-malarial campaigns must be sustained. ‘If you stop holding it down, it goes back up,’ says Dr Welkhoff. An Asian species of mosquito, Anopheles stephensi, has found a foothold in Ethiopia and Sudan. Unlike most African species, it thrives in cities, where previously the disease was rare. Since mosquitoes and parasites move and evolve, people must be adaptable. Mosquitoes are being genetically modified to sire offspring that die before they are old enough to start biting. In October the who came out in favour of such research. Victory against the vectors is not assured, but nor is it fanciful.” READ MORE

10/30/20: Bringing HIV and COVID-19 testing services to hard-to-reach areas in Uzbekistan (UNAIDS)

“’Our work in today’s coronavirus pandemic is more relevant than ever. We continue our cooperation to fight COVID-19 and fully support the efforts of the Uzbek authorities to normalize the epidemic situation in the country as soon as possible, and assure that the Russian Federation is ready to provide the necessary assistance,’ said Irina Bragina, Deputy Head of Rospotrebnadzor. To date, 12 mobile clinics have been donated—four to Tajikistan, three to Armenia and five to Kyrgyzstan. Apart from the primary health-care services and a range of HIV screening services, the clinics provide tests for COVID-19, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections and obstetrics, gynaecology, cardiology and urology care. All the mobile clinics offer services free of charge. So far, more than 1.6 million people have used the services provided by the clinics. ‘Mobile clinics today not only continue providing primary health-care services, including HIV testing, but also have come to the forefront to combat a new threat—COVID-19,’ said Aleksandr Goliusov, Director, a.i., of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.” READ MORE

10/30/20: The high road is in harm reduction (mail & Guardian – South Africa)

“’Harm reduction services such as sterile needle and syringe programmes save lives and are cost-effective. Yet the number of countries providing these services has effectively stalled for six consecutive years,’ said Naomi Burke-Shyne, the executive director of Harm Reduction International. ‘Covid-19 has disrupted health services worldwide but it has pushed many governments to successfully implement solutions to the overdose, HIV and hepatitis crises as part of their emergency Covid-19 responses, paving the way for their permanent implementation around the world.’ Researchers found that harm reduction implementation has worsened across the world, with approximately half of the countries with injecting drug users not providing any sterile needles and syringe programmes or OST.” READ MORE

10/29/20: COVID-19 takes attention away from India’s high TB caseload (the federal – INDIA)

“Despite the threat posed by TB to India’s health security, the registration of fresh cases has gone down significantly. For every 100 cases being registered in India till January 2020, only 40 cases were registered before April due to a decline in access to TB services, says the Global Tuberculosis Report, 2020 released on October 14, 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The weekly and monthly number of TB case notifications fell by more than 50 per cent between the end of March and late April in India, following the imposition of a national lockdown, according to the report. India accounts for 26 per cent of the total global TB cases — highest in the world. If the present trend of non-registration of new cases continues, we may see the problem spiralling out of control very soon. Gradually, the registration of TB patients is increasing, but as of the end of June, it had failed to reach pre-lockdown levels.” READ MORE

10/29/20: IOP Speaker Draws on Experience in AIDS, TB, and Malaria Prevention to Talk COVID-19 (the harvard crimson)

“[Peter] Sands [executive director of the Global Find to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria] and [Atul] Gawande [surgeon, author, Harvard Medical School Professor] also discussed the importance of systems of healthcare delivery in disease response — both for coronavirus and the diseases the Global Fund focuses on, such as AIDS. ‘You’ve got to build a system, because if you don’t have a system, nothing functions,’ Sands said. ‘In many countries, the fundamental infrastructure and capabilities that have been used to do the COVID response, have been those that have been put in place for HIV, TB, and malaria.’ At the same time, though, Sands said it is important that healthcare providers not lose sight of individual patients’ well-being. ‘COVID is going to force us to get even more system-oriented,’ he added. ‘But I want to make sure that as we do so, we keep that laser-sharp focus on what is the difference we’re making to people’s lives.’ Sands concluded by reflecting on how COVID-19 has shifted wealthier countries’ perspective on the effects of disease — now, instead of looking ‘outward,’ they have been forced to turn ‘inward.’” READ MORE

10/28/20: Antiretroviral treatment interruption among people living with HIV during COVID19 outbreak in China: a nationwide crosssectional study (journal of the INTERNATIONAL aids society)

“[The study researchers] found many [people living with HIV] (PLHIV)] in China were at risk of [antiretroviral therapy interruption (ATI)] and nearly 3% had already experienced an interruption in ART during the COVID-19 outbreak. PLHIV were more likely to have experienced or be at risk of ATI if they had previous interruptions in ART, travelled away from where they typically receive HIV care, or lived in an area that implemented strict COVID-19 prevention and control measures. The majority of PLHIV who experienced ATI identified citywide lockdowns and travel restrictions as a significant barrier to accessing ART. Obtaining additional ART from HIV clinics other than one’s site of primary HIV care was prohibitively cumbersome, and PLHIV worried that actively seeking ART refills from new sources would disclose their HIV status.” READ MORE

10/28/20: Coronavirus: what we can learn from the battle with HIV (the parliament magazine – Europe)

“According to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, ‘COVID-19 is a unique opportunity to reimagine health systems. All eyes are on health, health systems and health care. Countries want and need to be better equipped to deal not only with COVID-19 but also to create healthier, more resilient societies for any future shocks. Health care is a human right. It should be a public good. We must learn from HIV and COVID-19 and implement rights-based, equitable, people-centred universal health coverage.’ Against the background of a pandemic, it is important to sustain services for people living with HIV and to ensure that resources are not unduly diverted from the HIV response.’” READ MORE

10/28/20: Response to COVID-19 in Indonesia: Situation Update (Un office for the coordination of human affairs)

“COVID-19 has a greater negative impact on people with underlying health conditions. For example, people living with HIV/AIDS are more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. According to data from the Ministry of Health, around 543,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia. Fatalities from the virus confirmed in Indonesia include eight people with HIV/AIDS, and 77 people with HIV/AIDS have confirmed tested positive for the coronavirus. A recent survey of people with HIV by UNAIDS and the Positive Indonesia Network (JIP) found that 52 percent of respondents had only enough ARV drugs to last for a month – a more serious situation compared to that of March 2020. They find it more difficult to access ARV supplies due to the shutdown of land and air transport services and interrupted health services. About half of the respondents had not received any social assistance, and some could no longer pay rent for their homes at the time of the survey.” READ MORE

10/28/20: People With HIV May Have a Higher Susceptibility to COVID-19 (infectious disease advisor)

“The prevalence of HIV among patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) appears to be higher compared with the general population, suggesting an increased susceptibility to COVID-19 among people with HIV, according to research presented at IDWeek, held virtually from October 21 to 25, 2020. To determine the prevalence of HIV in patients with COVID-19 and the relationship between people with HIV and higher COVID-19 mortality rates, researchers conducted a meta-analysis using PubMed, Scopus, OVID, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases, including grey literature from January 1 to June 15.” READ MORE

10/28/20: CDC Tanzania and partners: Ensure HIV services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (cdc)

“After the Government of Tanzania announced the first case of COVID-19, some health facilities were designated for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 cases. In Mara region, local government officials designated Nyakato and Makoko dispensaries to treat COVID-19 patients. This meant new and existing HIV clients who typically visited these facilities had to find alternate locations for ongoing services. All PLHIV [people living with HIV] from these two dispensaries were redirected to the Nyasho, Kwangwa, Bweri dispensaries and Musoma Regional Hospital to continue receiving ART services without interruption. Through CDC support, [Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative] and Council Health Management Teams implemented strategies to ensure all PLHIV knew how, when, and where to safely obtain services. Clients received phone call reminders about upcoming appointments as well.READ MORE

10/28/20: The Response to the HIV Epidemic Provides Valuable Lessons for Treating COVID-19 (poz)

“We learned from the HIV response that these prevention and health promotion services are ideally delivered by community members themselves, who represent and have credibility with those they aim to serve. We have the data that tell us where impacts of COVID-19 are most severe. Now is the time to scale up mitigation and surveillance strategies such as COVID-19 testing while also being more surgical and strategic by delivering intensive care and services to heavily affected geographic areas and populations. If there are also policy approaches that can support this methodology, even better.” READ MORE

10/28/20: Tuberculosis elimination in Nunavut falls by wayside due to COVID-19 (nunatsiaq news – canada)

“TB occurs at a rate roughly 50 times higher in Nunavut than in the rest of Canada. [George] Hickes [Nunavat’s health minister] said that meetings and training opportunities for staff have been delayed since March, and the territorial TB committee hasn’t met face-to-face since last January. ‘They do have monthly meetings, but it is challenging to co-ordinate a fulsome response to tuberculosis across the territory when all our stakeholders aren’t able to meet face-to-face on a regular basis,’ Hickes said. The plan to eliminate TB includes more prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Screening has taken place in three communities: Whale Cove, Qikiqtarjuaq and Kinngait. ‘Discussions are on hold for any community-wide screenings right now,’ Hickes said. ‘It would be ill-advised under the current COVID-19 restrictions.’” READ MORE

10/28/20: Red flags on tuberculosis as we fight Covid-19 (greater kashmir – india)

“We note that the poor notification of TB cases continues even now: the NIKSHAY site [a case-based electronic TB notification system of India’s National TB elimination programme] shows that cases notified from June to September 2020 were 67% of those notified in this period a year ago. So, the trend is unchanged even with the progressive easing of the lockdown. Occurrence and severity of the disease is also closely linked to the nutrition status. Loss of livelihoods and worsening food security will adversely affect nutrition of individuals and could further increase the incidence as well as deaths due to TB.” READ MORE

10/28/20: Overcoming the Covid-19 disruption to essential health services (the daily star – BANGLADESH)

“HIV and tuberculosis (TB) testing and treatment is also being affected. South Africa is among the countries most affected by these diseases. During the country’s lockdown, declines in TB testing led to a 33 percent decline in diagnoses. The number of TB and HIV patients collecting their medications on schedule has also fallen. Weaker adherence will ultimately lead to an increase in drug resistance, therapeutic failure and higher treatment costs.” READ MORE

10/28/20: Moving from rhetoric to action: how Africa can use scientific evidence to halt the COVID-19 pandemic (infectious diseases of poverty JOURNAL)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed even strong health systems in Europe and America. A review and analysis of the impact of the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreaks in West Africa on health systems revealed that there was a significant reduction in access to routine health services and this led to substantially increased mortality from preventable diseases such as malaria, measles, HIV, AIDS and TB. African countries should learn from this experience and implement available guidance from WHO to ensure that essential health services are maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly during lockdowns to reduce excess mortality from other preventable diseases. Key to maintenance of essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic is the protection of health care workers from acquiring COVID-19 infection; this can be achieved by providing African health workers with the necessary equipment, information and training on how to protect themselves.” READ MORE

10/27/20: The pandemic could push 49 million Africans into extreme poverty. Here’s how other countries can help (CNN Business)

“Interruptions in health services and supplies due to Covid-19 are also expected to worsen broader health outcomes. HIV, tuberculosis and malaria deaths may rise by around half a million people. As countries reopen, there is an urgent need to assess the scale of the collateral damage caused by lockdowns, both within Africa and globally, so leaders can make the best choices about how to rebuild their countries’ economies. As they do that, African leaders must maintain their commitment to containing Covid-19 by continuing to test and isolate.” READ MORE

10/27/20: COVID-19 Situation Report (The Global Fund)

“In some countries, mosquito net distribution campaigns have been delayed. Case management has been affected by constraints on the movement and availability of health workers, while some countries face potential stock-outs of essential anti-malaria medicines. COVID-19 symptoms, in particular fever, has led to malaria being thought to be COVID-19 and vice-versa. Too often people who feel sick are not seeking treatment, frightened of contracting COVID-19 at a health facility. Disruptions also affect the ability to hold large-scale trainings and workshops for malaria.” READ MORE

10/27/20: COVID-19’s impact on HIV vertical transmission services reversed (UNAIDS)

“As of August 2020, the UNAIDS, World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund data collection exercise to identify national, regional and global disruptions of routine HIV services caused by COVID-19 had collected data on the prevention of vertical transmission of HIV from 43 countries, of which 17 countries reported data that enable the identification of trends. To measure the impact of COVID-19 on vertical transmission of HIV services, a ratio was calculated relative to January—for example, if the number of women reached in April was the same as in January, the ratio is 1; if there was a decline, the ratio is less than 1. All countries except Mozambique and Jamaica experienced declines in women tested for HIV at their first antenatal clinic visit in April compared to January. By June or July, 14 of the 17 countries were back to the February level of testing (all except Indonesia, Botswana and Sierra Leone). Among the 15 countries reporting on treatment among pregnant women living with HIV, all but five have recovered to the February numbers of women receiving treatment (except Botswana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Togo and Guatemala).” READ MORE

10/27/20: Assembly Elections and Bihar’s Covid-19 Success: a Time to Celebrate or Deliberate? (observer research foundation – INDIA)

“The NITI Aayog Health Index report illustrates the deterioration of Bihar’s overall performance between 2015-16 and 2017-18, with a fall in many important indicators such as total fertility rate, low birth weight, sex ratio at birth, institutional delivery, TB notification rate, staff nurse vacancies and functional 24×7 [primary healthcare centers]. While most states saw an improving trend, Bihar saw a decline of 6.35 points from 2015-16 to 2017-18—the biggest fall in the health index amongst larger Indian states. Compared to other states, Bihar observed a negative performance in 16 indicators, the most amongst the larger states.” READ MORE

10/27/20: Let’s not lose sight of malaria because of Covid-19—Makarios Foundation (news ghana)

“[Madam Lucy Apeajei] the Country Director [of Makarios Foundation] advised that Ghanaians should not ignore other killer diseases because of the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘We don’t need to wait for a backlog of people dying before we come up with a rapid response, giving and donating item, etc. National malaria control programme is not doing much because of covid-19; nobody is talking about malaria,’ she lamented. She urged every citizen to continue to observe all Covid-19 protocols to prevent contracting the diseases, but advised that everyone practiced personal and environmental hygiene in order not to contract other equally deadly diseases. Madam Apeajei asked the Ministry of health to prevent a situation in which, after the Covid-19 pandemic, the lives of large numbers of Ghanaians were threatened because of malaria; ‘That could over stretch our health system, like it happened under Covid-19.’” READ MORE

10/27/20: Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects (Devdiscourse)

“Experts have also raised concerns about people on vital medication to fight HIV AIDS. About 1.4 million people in Uganda are infected by the disease and 1.2 million of them are expected on medication but limited access to health centers due to the pandemic could have dire consequences for these people. UNAIDS has warned that Sub Saharan Africa could face up to 500,000 HIV-related deaths due to the pandemic-induced restrictions.” READ MORE

10/26/20: COVID-19 and preventative medicine for HIV infected children (clinical infectious diseases)

“We would advocate for vaccine initiatives targeting the population of HIV-infected and -exposed children in the clinics where they receive treatment for HIV. Outreach via telephone may be necessary to inform patients’ parents/guardians, given their reluctance to seek HIV care during the pandemic. Initiating pediatric vaccination programs at HIV health care sites could prevent a further increase in pneumonia-related deaths of HIV-exposed children in Botswana. Suspension of vaccination programs and fear of seeking preventative care services due to COVID-19 has already led to decreased vaccination rates and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses. In Sierra Leone, a referral health center showed a 52%-83% decrease in pediatric vaccination rates during the pandemic, compared to that during the previous year. Cambodia experienced an outbreak of measles; 341 cases were diagnosed during the 4-month period after their first case of COVID-19, an almost 8-fold increase over the number of cases from the same period the previous year. A benefit–risk analysis examining the benefits of vaccination vs. the risk of spreading COVID19 at vaccination sites found that the benefits outweigh the risk. HIV-infected children are more susceptible to vaccine-preventable illnesses, and an outbreak could lead to deaths in this population and affect herd immunity.” READ MORE

10/26/20: Africa’s miners face new TB threat as pandemic disrupts treatment (thomson reuters foundation)

“When COVID-19 shut South Africa’s mines, workers from Jele’s homeland eSwatini and other neighbouring nations rushed home – disrupting TB care for thousands of miners at high risk from the disease due to weakened lungs after years working underground. Jele – secretary general of a migrant mineworkers’ association in eSwatini – said more lives could now be lost to TB as overstretched healthcare systems prioritise COVID-19. ‘There’s such a strong focus on COVID that everyone is forgetting about TB and other non-communicable diseases, and this contributes to more deaths,’ Jele said by phone from the landlocked kingdom, where TB treatment is not always available. Patients who do not consistently take the full course of several months’ medication can spread drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is TB that is resistant to common medications, according to the World Bank.” READ MORE

10/25/20: Fund tuberculosis aid: now’s not the time to forget about global health (the georgetown voice)

“COVID-19 has proven that there has been a severe lack of planning and financing for global health security programs. But TB has been telling us this for years. Warmer temperatures, a growing global population, and urbanization all facilitate the rapid spread of disease, increasing the frequency and intensity of pandemics. TB and other diseases endemic to low-resource areas will continue to lose progress without adequate interventions. As the U.S. Senate approaches the time to pass the foreign aid appropriations bill for fiscal year 2021, we need to pressure the government to step up in its role in promoting global health. So, when I say that this is a crucial moment for Congress to prioritize global health by supporting increased funding for tuberculosis programs, I don’t mean defunding other global health efforts such as strengthening health systems. I want to highlight the importance of having both disease-specific and more general healthcare spending in a time when everyone is preoccupied with COVID-19.” READ MORE

10/24/20: SARI, ILI patients to be tested for tuberculosis along with covid-19 (Times of India)

“NPC [Nagpur Municipal Corporation] chief medical officer Dr. Narendra Bahirwar has ordered patients who have tested negative for Covid-19 but having symptoms of cough, fever etc to get tested for TB. ‘Also COVID-19 recovered patients but having cough etc for long time should also test for TB. Testing facility is available free of cost at GMCH, IGGMCH, and NMC’s Sadar Hospital,’ he said. Following guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) earlier this month, the NMC collected data from Covid-19 department regarding patients who tested Covid-19 negative but had symptoms of TB. After screening 221 such patients, 11 were detected with TB. Dr [Shilpa] Jichkar [NMC TB Officer] said, ‘There are various reasons behind decline in TB patients. Symptoms of Covid-19 and TB are similar. All were tested for Covid-19 but not for TB. Also, patients with TB symptoms might not go for screening due to fear of Covid.’” READ MORE

10/24/20: Tuberculosis is a major worldwide threat and the pandemic could make it worse, WHO says (the Washington post)

“Tuberculosis incidences are falling, the agency says — between 2015 and 2019, cases were reduced by about 9 percent. But that still falls short of WHO’s targets. The coronavirus pandemic is expected to make things worse. Large drops occurred in TB diagnoses between January and June. Due to the economic effects of the pandemic, WHO models predict that cases could annually increase by more than 1 million in the next five years if resources continue to be diverted to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.” READ MORE

10/24/20: TB catch-up plan underway in Western Cape but old challenges linger (City Press – south Africa)

“In June this year, the province saw a 47% decline in TB testing and a 33% decline in the number of patients diagnosed with TB compared to previous years, says [Monique] Johnstone [Western Cape department of health spokesperson]. ‘Our response to chronic disease management, including TB, is being scaled up systematically over the next six months to increase the number of TB cases detected,’ she says. To do this, the department intends a project jointly with the National Health Laboratory Service to re-introduce TB testing in the province by looking at the way they are proactively finding people to testify for TB, ‘like we did with Covid-19 community testing and screening.’ ‘With the help of community healthcare workers, we will go into communities to actively find and screen people for TB as part of our community-oriented primary care approach. We are reviewing our data-led approach to find people who need to be tested for TB.’ says Johnstone.’” READ MORE

10/23/20: Rapid Adaptation of HIV Treatment Programs in Response to COVID-19 — Namibia, 2020 (centers for disease control and prevention)

“Namibia has rapidly implemented public health measures to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which allows additional time to adequately prepare the health care system for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases. The ART program has adapted to ensure the continuity of essential HIV services while maintaining a safe health care environment for clients and staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts are underway to evaluate the implementation of these initiatives across sites and the impact on programs. These public health strategies could be implemented in other settings where COVID-19 might threaten the HIV treatment program when the public health providers and governments are willing to use new technologies and novel strategies to maintain patient care.” READ MORE

10/22/20: Limpopo gears up for malaria fight amid Covid-19 restrictions (health-e NEWS – south Africa)

“Last season, the department reached 95% of its target, spraying 933,000 structures. This year, however, the provincial department of health said they cannot employ additional members to assist with IRS. ‘Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the department was unable to recruit and train additional spray operators, however, 365 community spray operators were employed,’ says Shikwambana. ‘The department plans to spray for longer period, in order to cover all the risk areas.’ With lockdown regulations eased to allow travelling within the country and across borders, the non-profit organisation Malaria No More has created safety tips before leaving home.  They advise that travellers must first do their homework on the areas they are visiting and visit a healthcare professional before embarking on the journey. Once arriving in a malaria area, travellers should also cover themselves and prioritise indoor accommodation. The organisation also warned individuals to be wary of symptoms such a fever, headaches, chills and fatigue.” READ MORE

10/22/20: International panel updates guidelines for treatment and prevention of HIV in adults: What has changed? (times now news – INDIA)

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption in treatment of other diseases has been seen commonly, but clinicians must ensure that ART for people with HIV is not interrupted. HIV leads to thousands of death every year, with several new infections reported from around the world. With no cure at hand, ART recommendations can play a major role in saving lives.” READ MORE

10/22/20: COVID-19’s disruption of health services ( – RWANDA)

“Health-care delivery in nearly every country has been disrupted by policy-makers’ mistaken initial assumption that health systems would quickly win the fight against COVID-19. As the pandemic’s caseload and death toll are increasing daily, it is often stalling or reversing hard-won progress on minimizing the impact of other diseases, from diabetes to malaria. At the start of the pandemic, many policy-makers and health leaders considered a relatively short disruption of essential health services acceptable, but it is now clear that COVID-19 will persist much longer than anticipated. Countries can no longer postpone the delivery of crucial health services. Without immediate action to ensure their continuity, the future death toll from communicable and noncommunicable diseases will be unacceptably high.” READ MORE

10/22/20: Overcoming the COVID-19 disruption to essential health services (world economic forum)

“Global health experts have long been aware of the disruptions a protracted emergency would cause for health services. In 2018, the World Health Organization defined an essential package of services that should be available without user fees during an extended crisis. These include maternal and neonatal health care as well as treatment for communicable and non-communicable diseases, mental health, and neglected tropical diseases. Several challenges to delivering this package stand out. First, services for non-communicable diseases have decreased significantly. Of the 155 countries surveyed by the WHO, 53% reported a partial or total disruption of treatment services for hypertension, 49% for diabetes, 42% for cancer, and 31% for cardiovascular emergencies. HIV and tuberculosis (TB) testing and treatment is also being affected. South Africa is among the countries most affected by these diseases. During the country’s lockdown, declines in TB testing led to a 33% decline in diagnoses. The number of TB and HIV patients collecting their medications on schedule has also fallen. Weaker adherence will ultimately lead to an increase in drug resistance, therapeutic failure, and higher treatment costs.” READ MORE

10/22/20: A New Tool Could Help Doctors Treat Latent TB Before It Becomes Dangerous, Contagious (the swaddle – india)

“Still, the algorithm could help India curb its TB numbers eventually — that is, if the current and urgent threat of the global pandemic wasn’t taking attention away from the long-term, ongoing threat of TB in India. Due to the pandemic’s disruption in health services and higher household transmission due to the lockdown, the government estimates India could have [500,000]  more TB cases — and [150,000] more deaths — in the next five years. ‘As the [COVID-19] pandemic sweeps the world, I and others working to fight TB have growing anxiety about what this pandemic will do to a much older infectious killer — tuberculosis,’ Dr. Madhukar Pai, director at McGill University’s Internal Tuberculosis Centre, wrote in Forbes.” READ MORE

10/22/20:  Estimating the impact of disruptions due to COVID-19 on HIV transmission and control among MSM in China (MEDrxiv)

“The overall impact of COVID-19 on new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths is dependent on the nature, scale and length of the various disruptions. Resources should be directed to ensuring levels of viral suppression and condom use are maintained to mitigate any adverse effects of COVID-19 related disruption on HIV transmission and control among MSM in China.” READ MORE

10/21/20: protecting malaria control gains in the era of covid-19: Insights from sierra leone and ghana (politico SL – sierra leone)

“Despite the pandemic, Sierra Leone successfully distributed 4.6 million bed nets nationwide in May and June while ensuring they provided healthcare workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safely undertake this work and adjusting the distribution strategy to ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines. Life-saving malaria tools such as intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) have saved millions of lives of pregnant women and children under five in malaria affected countries. Mass bed net distribution campaigns and the ease of access to antimalaria medicines have also played a great role in the fight against malaria.” READ MORE

10/20/20: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on malaria elimination (parasite epidemiology and control)

“Malaria control largely depends on the mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) and indoor residual spraying of insecticide (IRS) across communities and households. Together with slide-based diagnosis, RDTs, case management delivered through trained health staff and increasing awareness have led to significant success in reducing malaria burden over the years. Understanding the effect of the concentrated campaigns against malaria is vital to inform future control planning during the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, the WHO has stressed that all routine malaria prevention and control activities should not be hampered and be continued to the extent possible as they tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, implementing these preventive activities house-to-house is harder during the current health and economic crisis.” READ MORE

10/20/20: South Africa: How Covid-19 Changed Community Engagement in South Africa’s Low Income Areas (the conversation – the south africa)

“The Movement for Change and Social Justice applied strategies from previous AIDS activism campaigns developed by the Treatment Action Campaign. The campaign fought successfully for affordable treatment and better HIV care in South Africa through mass mobilisation and health education programmes. But mobilising communities during the COVID-19 lockdown also forced activists to work in new, innovative ways. In an interview, the organisation’s founder, Mandla Majola, explained: We want to build an active community response, but we cannot be close to each other, so we need alternative approaches. We need to collaborate with traditional and religious leaders and to support the health staff. Majola added that before COVID-19, he would regularly mobilise people at funerals to destigmatise HIV and promote testing. Now social media platforms are used to collaborate, mobilise and share report.” READ MORE

10/20/20: 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health opens today as gains in reducing TB deaths risk being set back by COVID-19 (UNAIDS)

“COVID-19 is already disrupting TB and HIV services, adding to the dual stigma that prevents people from accessing services; lockdown measures that are a further barrier to people being tested or collecting their treatment for TB and HIV and diverting human, financial and laboratory resources away from tuberculosis and HIV. It has been estimated that globally, a three-month lockdown and a protracted 10-month restoration could lead to an additional 6.3 million people falling ill with TB and an additional 1.4 million TB deaths over the next five years. That would result in a setback of at least five to eight years in the fight against TB – bringing 2021 global TB incidence and deaths to levels not seen since 2013 and 2016 respectively – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Now, more than ever, is the time for the HIV and TB communities to team up and call for investment in shorter treatment and prevention regimens and better infection control, supported by the socioeconomic and human rights protections people need,’ said Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director. ‘Overcoming COVID-19, TB, HIV and future pandemics requires global solidarity. Together we must develop and equitably distribute combination prevention, including vaccines, and treatment to all—true universal access that prioritizes those who need it most.’” READ MORE

10/20/20 Thinking about tuberculosis in times of Covid19 (journal of internal medicine)

“The new pandemic could decrease the prioritization of TB programs, limiting the access to resources and drug availability in developing countries like Paraguay, increasing stigma and discrimination among this group of people. Together, both diseases show their most perverse face in vulnerable and comorbid populations. The COVID-19 outbreak situation determines a critical point that requires complete attention from the minister of health of the country. Nonetheless, this health event, that involves scientific and industrial international communities, may represent one of the major chances to finally be able to learn about a new disease without forgetting an oldest one. This is the opportunity for a global health paradigm shift. Using this point of view, the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t be considered a completely negative situation, but instead should be seen as a possibility to change and improve the global health system perspective that has neglected TB for so many years. It’s time to take real and concrete actions if we want to eliminate TB.” READ MORE

10/20/20: With Covid-19, India’s public health priorities have evolved substantially (Healthworld – india)

“’The disruption has long-lasting impacts: India may lose the recent hard-earned gains against malaria, TB, HIV, and malnutrition achieved through malaria and TB elimination campaigns, [National AIDS Control Program], and the POSHAN mission [India’s plan to fight against malnutrition]. Resetting the priorities at the primary care level would be difficult with the overwhelming burden and fear of Covid-19. The overall economic impact of the disease is profound. Diseases like malaria, which have already been suffering from funding gaps, would bear the brunt of resource siphoning by Covid-19.’ [Dr Sanjeev Gaikwad, Country Director, Malaria no More India]” READ MORE

10/20/20: Special Report: Why Covid-19 Disruption In Malaria Treatment Poses Grave Risk To Pregnant Women In Nigeria (the new diplomat – nigeria)

“Magdalene [Effiong] was diagnosed with acute malaria complications. The staff in-charge of the health center said Magdalene had avoided medical facilities for fear of the Covid-19 stigma. But when her ailment got worse, her husband rushed her to the local clinic where she had registered for antenatal before the outbreak of Covid-19 in February 2020. Magdalene’s experience proved how malarial infection during pregnancy is a major public health concern in endemic country like Nigeria as it is one of the most common complications during pregnancy, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is an important preventable cause of significant maternal morbidity and mortality with associated fetal and perinatal wastage. Yet the Covid-19 outbreak came with its attendant effects on people’s culture and finances, on the back of an already overburdened and near-comatose healthcare system in the country.” READ MORE

10/20/20: Zamboanga City records 52 HIV cases (Philippine news agency)

“Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, City Health Office chief [Zamboanga City], made the disclosure Tuesday as she assured that health care services have continued for HIV patients even amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. ‘Our services are still ongoing despite the Covid-19 pandemic. They can always go to our Reproductive Health and Wellness Center at the City Health Office’ Miravite said on Tuesday. Miravite said they continue to examine anyone with risky behavior who voluntarily submit themselves for HIV testing. She also underscored the need for early testing ‘so that we will also start treatment early.’” READ MORE

10/20/20: The HIV fight is growing old (politico)

“With public health attention focused on the coronavirus, the fight against HIV risks going from being a victim of its own success to simply a victim. Global health organizations warn that a decade of progress could be slashed by service disruptions and budget cuts. AIDS organizations are trying to cope by riding the coattails of the virus in the headlines. UNAIDS, for example, is leading the charge for a ‘people’s vaccine,’ citing a desire to avoid a repeat of early AIDS treatments that were available in rich countries long before anyone else could afford them.

‘These are colliding pandemics,’ said Shannon Hader, a UNAIDS deputy executive director, at the POLITICO event last week. ‘It allows us also to remind people what’s left to do,’ she added. ‘A lot of the folks that are still left to be reached in the HIV response … they’re not being reached in the COVID response, either.’” READ MORE


“President Uhuru Kenyatta has appealed to the global community not to allow the fight against COVID-19 interfere with efforts to eradicate malaria, polio, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases in Africa. The President said success stories and lessons from the global COVID-19 response should be harnessed and applied in the battle against these diseases to hasten their eradication. He said the fight against malaria on the African continent was witnessing less interest from developed nations and multilateral partners as the countries and agencies redirect scarce resources to the more pressing Coronavirus pandemic. Going forward, the President, who was accompanied to the meeting by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, urged African governments to apply information sharing and pooling of resources as seen during the continental COVID-19 response to the fight against malaria.” READ MORE


“Now, as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to push the world even further off track, authors of the report are calling for countries to step up donations and engage with these marginalised communities to help win the fight against HIV. “Covid-19 is exacerbating inequalities and creating additional barriers to accessing health care,”  Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said of the findings.” READ MORE

10/19/20: Use of adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccines: a cautionary tale (the lancet)

“[Susan P Buchbinder, Juliana McElrath, Carl Dieffenbach, Lawrence Corey, HIV vaccine researchers] are writing to express concern about the use of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) vector for a COVID-19 phase 1 vaccine study, and subsequent advanced trials. Over a decade ago, we completed the Step and Phambili phase 2b studies that evaluated an Ad5 vectored HIV-1 vaccine administered in three immunisations for efficacy against HIV-1 acquisition. Both international studies found an increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition among vaccinated men.” READ MORE

10/19/20: Covid fails to disrupt Himachal’s fight against tuberculosis (tribune india – india)

“’The TB notifications dropped to 786 in April in Himachal from the general level of 1,300 to 1,400 a month. Coronavirus and the lockdown threatened to derail our campaign but we responded quickly and the notification rate was back to the expected level next month,’ said National Health Mission (NHM) Director Nipun Jindal. Keeping the TB campaign on track in the midst of the pandemic and the resultant lockdown wasn’t easy though. ‘We faced many challenges such as presumptive TB cases had difficulty reaching the PHI or the DMC due to the lockdown, sputum transportation facility to CABNAAT and the IRL laboratory was disrupted, the NTEP staff was deployed on Covid duties…,’ said Jindal. ‘However, we managed to work around these challenges’ he added. At a time when routine OPDs were closed, the responsibility to identify presumptive TB cases and facilitate their testing was handed over to the flu clinics in medical colleges and district hospitals.” READ MORE

10/19/20: The slow motion race for a TB vaccine versus the sprint for a Covid-19 vaccine (maverick citizen – south africa)

“’The lack of investment in TB vaccine development is a result of chronic blunting to the horrors of a global epidemic that has been unfolding for decades among the socio-economically disadvantaged, particularly in developing countries with few resources at their disposal,’ explains University of Cape Town Professor Mark Hatherill, Director of the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative. ‘By contrast, the global Covid-19 epidemic unfolded in a matter of weeks on the doorstep of wealthy industrialised countries with massive resources to develop vaccines against this sudden threat.’ According to Frick, what Covid-19 ‘illustrated is that, for too long we have accepted a false sense of fiscal austerity, that there was never enough money for TB vaccines.’ ‘We were told to advocate and make an investment case, but there was always a reason not to increase funding. What Covid has clearly shown is that that austerity was false.’” READ MORE

10/19/20: Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information (devdiscourse – kenya)

“Moreover, data on other routine healthcare system activities in Kenya is scarce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these activities are not happening or have been reduced and data is not easily available on infections, fatalities, and measures taken to address possible new cases of prevalent diseases like cholera, malaria, TB, HIV, and AIDS.” READ MORE

10/18/20: Karnataka finds over 48,000 TB cases amid Covid fight
(times of india– india)

“State TB officers Dr Ramesh Chandra Reddy said the pandemic had affected the TB diagnosis process. ‘Adherence to the treatment is seen among diagnosed patients, who are in recovery mode. But detection of fresh cases has taken a beating as many people are not coming forward for testing. The 48,242 cases were ticked up largely through door-to-door surveillance,’ he said. In May, the case-finding strategy resumed with the help of Asha workers. Fever and cough for two weeks are among the symptoms associated with the disease. ‘We have clinically examined all cases of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infection for TB signs. Those who had symptoms but tested negative for Covid-19 were checked for TB,’ said an official of the state TB eradication unit. ‘Covid-19 patients have dry cough, while TB patients usually develop a cough productive of sputum. The latter also suffer high fever and loss of appetite and weight.’ While the target is to reach a case notification rate of 192 TB patients (estimated estimates) for every [100,000] population every year, Karnataka has achieved the figure of 89 so far this year. Last year, the state reached a case notification rate of 135. Pulmonologists say in the past seven months, many cases went undiagnosed or didn’t show up for follow-ups because of virus fears or travel restrictions.” READ MORE

10/18/20: Malawi records 10 cases, 2 deaths of combined TB And COvid-19 (nyasa times – malawi)

“The National TB Control Program (NTP) said it has recorded less than 10 cases with 2 deaths from tuberculosis (TB) and coronavirus since the declaration of Covid-19 as a national disaster in March this year. NTP Deputy Program Manager, Isiahs Dambe told the media during an Update Meeting on TB and Covid-19 in Mangochi during the weekend that nationwide the program has reported lower cases of both TB and coronavirus than anticipated. ‘This has come because of a number of interventions put in place by NTP as well as prevention measures announced by government including stay at home, wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands among others,’ he said.” READ MORE

10/18/20: covid-19 disrupts HIV and TB services (mail & Guardian – south africa)

“The health interventions put in place for Covid-19 — such as screening, social grants, rapid follow-ups and contact tracing — could improve the efficiency of treatment for TB and HIV, according to a paper published recently in The Lancet. ‘South Africa has had remarkable successes in the management of HIV and tuberculosis in the past 10 years but these gains are threatened by Covid-19,’ the researchers wrote. Modelling from July estimated the potential effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in low- and middle-income countries would be large. The researchers estimated that the deaths caused by HIV and TB and malaria over the next five years could rise by up to 10% and 20% respectively. ‘We are very concerned to see that HIV testing fell by nearly half and that TB testing and primary health care access by carers and children fell by between 9% and 25%,’ Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said. ‘I am however pleased to inform all of you that the department of health has devised an aggressive catch-up strategy to ensure that we recapture that spirit of health-seeking behaviour and also capitalise on the infrastructure and public-private partnership gains we made during the Covid-19 surge.’” READ MORE

10/17/20: Philly Lutaaya Memorial Public Lecture “Access to HIV Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (US EMbassy in Uganda)

“’Throughout this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made progress in some areas and have suffered setbacks in others; we have regained some of the lost ground, though. As I will discuss, many community-based programs were paused or had to be redesigned. More than 30 years into the HIV fight, stigma, discrimination, and non-disclosure remain key challenges, particularly for community drug distribution. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic these challenges have been heightened. The U.S. government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has responded to these challenges by expanding client-centered interventions through village health teams, expert clients, peer networks, mentor mothers, and others. By scaling up social network strategies among adolescents and young adults, the identification of HIV positive cases and their subsequent treatment initiation has increased. In addition to the familiar grassroots tactics, we have also turned to technology to beat the challenges posed by COVID-19. The lockdown and travel restrictions instituted by the government created gaps in treatment coverage for children and adolescents as they struggled to find a way to get to their appointments. We pivoted by finding ways to utilize technological platforms to expand options for providing client-centered services closer to patients and communities.’ [US Embassay Chargé d’Affaires Christopher Krafft]” READ MORE

10/17/20: Tuberculosis notifications in 2020 down by 25% in India, global report says (the hindu – india)

“’The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undermine our gains,’ WHO Global TB Program Director Dr. Tereza Kasaeva said at a WHO virtual press briefing. Among the problems cited is reassignment of people from national TB programs to COVID-19-related duties, reductions in the number health-care facilities treating people with TB, a reduction in collection of data. In addition, many countries, India included, are using rapid diagnostic tests used for detecting TB for COVID-19 testing instead.’ 2020 is a critical year for all of us,’ Dr. Kasaeva says. ‘While we struggle to overcome the COVID pandemic together, we should not neglect the millions of people suffering and dying from TB.’” READ MORE

10/16/20: Lung health and Hiv: Why communities  are key in the covid-19 era (frontline aids)

“Findings indicate that COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on TB diagnosis as people avoid testing facilities, fearful of getting COVID-19. Community workers are doing their best to identify people with undetected TB in their homes and refer them for testing, but even this is proving difficult as people look to limit contact with others. Sensitising activities and personal protective equipment have been helpful in re-establishing contact between communities and community workers. We are now seeing a rising number of people testing positive for TB in community settings, and the number of undetected cases is also likely to be rising.” READ MORE

10/16/20: COVID-19’s impact on HIV treatment less severe than feared (UNAIDS)

“Only five countries reported monthly declines in the number of people on [HIV] treatment after April—these include Zimbabwe in June, Peru and Guyana in July, the Dominican Republic in April, and Sierra Leone in May through to July. The remaining 18 countries did not show a decline and some countries showed a steady increase (e.g. Kenya, Ukraine, Togo and Tajikistan). One challenge in interpreting trends in the number of people currently on treatment is that many countries have a three-month lost-to-follow-up definition. This means that people who disengaged from treatment in April may only be counted as not on treatment in July.

Among the 22 countries with trend data on numbers newly initiating treatment, all countries except Jamaica showed declines for at least one month or more relative to January. Only around eight of those countries showed a rebound in the number of people newly initiating treatment between January and July.” READ MORE

10/16/20: TB patients begin slow return to Mumbai hospital (hindustan times – india)

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, 128 TB patients co-infected with the coronavirus have undergone treatment at the hospital. Of these, half were recovered or latent (when the bacteria remain dormant in the body) TB patients. At the hospital, 14 patients have succumbed to the infection. This takes the mortality rate at the hospital to 11%, which is much higher than the city’s death rate (2.2%). According to officials at the hospital, most deaths were a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment. As both Covid-19 and TB affect the lungs, it often leads to misdiagnosis. ‘Of the 14 deaths, eight were reported during the initial days of the pandemic. All patients who died were either brought or transferred to the hospital when they were extremely critical. This week, one co-infected patient died due to acute pneumonia. He was also referred from a private hospital,’ said Dr Anande. Due to their compromised lung condition, TB patients are most vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. When the outbreak was reported in the city’s slums, health experts feared the spread among TB patients. Seven months on, even though Sars-CoV-2 has infected less than 1% TB patients in Mumbai, doctors said there are chances that TB cases might spike due to irregularities in the treatment of TB patients.” READ MORE

10/16/20: reprioritising tb, hiv and ncds in the era of covid-19 (african mining market – south africa)

“In his opening address, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize quoted published research which states that the diversions away from other medical priorities due to the Covid-19 pandemic could mean that deaths worldwide due to HIV, TB, and malaria in low- and middle-income countries could increase by up to 10%, 20%, and 26%, respectively. Further, he added that NCD screening and testing has fallen by half this year for the same reason. He said the Department of Health (DoH) has devised a strategy to address these challenges. The DoH would also study the recommendations of today’s seminar and align with them. Dr Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Geneva-based Stop TB Partnership, said her organization had carried out a study in May 2020 which showed that the global TB incidence had increased by 7 million. The programme Stop TB had been working on in [South Africa] since 2012 had performed particularly well in 2018/19. However, the lockdown and other factors has led to a drop of 30-40% in TB screening and testing. This will lead to increase in TB incidence next year. ‘TB screening and prevention needs urgently to be restored to previous levels,’ she said.” READ MORE

10/15/20: HIV, Tuberculosis and Coronavirus Plague Venezuelan Prisons (caracas chronicles – venezuelaiv)

“NGO Ventana a la Libertad denounced that the cases of malnutrition and tuberculosis have increased in Venezuelan jails, amid the COVID-19 pandemic: the NGO counted 558 cases of prisoners with malnutrition, 183 with tuberculosis, 10 are HIV+ and authorities confirmed four prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus.” READ MORE

10/15/20: Mining committed to doing all it takes to improve worker health – Matlala (Mining Weekly – south africa)

“’We were caught between a rock and a hard place, and did our best in the prevailing circumstances,’ Matlala told the webinar in which Mining Weekly took part. The five-year-old Minerals Council-led multi-stakeholder Masoyise Health Programme, she said, had been established to improve the industry’s health performance in the management of TB, HIV, NCDs and other occupational diseases. From 2016 to 2018, a peak of 90% of employees had been screened for TB and 83% a year counselled for HIV. This was followed by a slight regression in 2019 and then a major Covid-19 disruption this year. Matlala reported that TB contact tracing in the high-prevalence districts had been strengthened by adding a contact-tracing module to the electronic reporting system and a number of valuable studies had been conducted in particularly the past two years, including TB and HIV services in the coal sector, TB mortality in the industry as a whole, and health promotion and behaviour change to assist in the management of NCDs.” READ MORE

10/15/20: UNAIDS supports a temporary WTO waiver from certain obligations of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 (UNAIDS)

“In response to the colliding pandemics of COVID-19 and HIV, UNAIDS has adopted a multisectoral and people-centred approach in order to protect the gains for people living with and affected by HIV and to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The AIDS community knows that in order to tackle public health threats a focus on inequality is essential, including inequalities in access to solutions, whether vaccines, diagnostics or therapeutics. ‘We cannot repeat the painful lessons from the early years of the AIDS response, when people in wealthier countries got back to health, while millions of people in developing countries were left behind,” Ms Byanyima added. “If we continue with business as usual we will fail in delivering fair access to COVID-19 treatments for all those in need. Yet fair access is the human right of everyone, no matter the colour of their skin, the money in their pocket or the country they live in.’ A range of solutions will be needed in order to ensure equal access and to unlock supply. UNAIDS calls for support for the multilateral solutions that are on the table and for collaboration through fostering the transfer of technology and mass-producing health products, using a public health lens.” READ MORE


“Doctors in Karnataka have begun to come across patients with co-infections – Covid-19 along with another disease, making it difficult to detect the second one and plan treatment for both conditions. These conditions include malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, dengue, H1N1 and    bacterial pneumonia. Dr TMA Pai Hospital in Udupi has seen patients who have either H1N1 or malaria and Covid-19, and at least four patients who have tuberculosis with Covid-19, said Dr Shashikiran Umakanth, professor and head of the department of medicine, and nodal officer for Covid. ‘With fever and cough being the predominant symptoms of many of these diseases, diagnosing both becomes a challenge. Treatment, too, becomes an issue,’ Dr Shashikiran said.” READ MORE


“The [World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Report of 2020] report estimates that the global TB deaths could increase by around 0.2–0.4 million in 2020 alone. ‘In India, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa, four countries that account for 44% of global TB cases, there were large drops in the reported number of people diagnosed with TB between January and June 2020. Compared with the same six-month period in 2019, overall reductions in India, Indonesia and the Philippines were in the range 25–30%,” the report says.’ The Narendra Modi government estimates that the disruption of health services because of Covid-19 could result in an estimated [500,000] additional TB cases and [100,000] more deaths in the next five years. India has reported a 60 per cent decline in tuberculosis notifications because of the lockdown imposed to control Covid-19.” READ MORE

10/14/20: Up to 1.4 million more deaths from tuberculosis (pledge times – INDIA)

“The researchers [of an investigation done by the StopTB Alliance along with the Imperial College London, Avenir Health, USAID, and the Johns Hopkins University] point out that any increase in tuberculosis patients that a country accumulates during this period of crisis can make it difficult to control the infection for at least the next five years. ‘The rapid restoration of services is critical to minimize these adverse impacts,’ they advise. The reason is that, during a period of confinement, difficulties in diagnosing and initiating treatment will result in a growing pool of undetected patients, and this will contribute to further expansion in the years to come. That is why complementary measures are also needed, ‘with a focus on reducing the prevalent group of tuberculosis,’ the report says. Such measures should combine intensive community involvement, awareness-raising efforts on the importance of maintaining diagnostic and treatment services, and active case finding, including rapid expansion of contact tracing to compensate for missed diagnoses during the closure period.” READ MORE

10/14/20: Pandemic still threatens AIDS care in IndonesiA (The phnom Penh Post – indonesia)

“A nationwide survey of 1,035 people with HIV carried out in August by the Indonesian office of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and non-profit organisation the Positive Indonesia Network (JIP) showed that 52 per cent of respondents had only enough ARV drugs to last for a month. The ARV shortage was more serious than in the early weeks of the pandemic. The two organisations found in late March that 47.6 per cent respondents had only a month’s worth of ARV medication left. ‘More and more people are lacking ARV stocks,’ said Ary Bumi Kartini, a JIP researcher involved in the study. ‘We must work together with the Health Ministry and other community-based organisations to ensure the availability of ARVs at national and regional levels during the pandemic.’ But 473 of the 1,035 respondents in the survey said they were reluctant to visit health facilities for ARV drugs because they feared exposing themselves to Covid-19. The coronavirus outbreak has also mentally and financially affected people living with HIV/AIDS, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they experienced ‘serious anxiety issues regarding the condition of their health, family and the stigma of HIV status.’ The number of respondents who said they were not able to meet the needs of their families increased from 236 in March to 474 in August.” READ MORE

10/14/20: Pandemic puts global progress against tuberculosis at risk: WHO (reuters)

“’Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets,’ the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement with the report. Sharonann Lynch, a TB policy expert at the global health charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said progress against the killer disease had been ‘dismally slow.’ ‘It’s disheartening to see that governments are not on track,’ she said in a statement.” READ MORE

10/14/20: Surging violence in Burkina Faso threatens women’s access to health care (DEVEX – burkino Faso)

“’There isn’t enough space for everyone,’ said Issa Sawadogo, the nurse in charge of the center. At least 80% of the women she sees are displaced, she said. Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the country in March, such as closing public transport and restricting movement between cities, have further reduced women’s access to care. The amount of people getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and using family planning services has decreased by approximately 15% between the last half of 2019 and the first six months of this year, said Boureihiman Ouedraogo, director for the Burkinabe Association for Family Well-Being, a local aid group. For women already impacted by violence, the virus is just another challenge to overcome.” READ MORE


“Although most patients received additional medicines to continue their treatment at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, national data still showed that there was a decrease in the number of patients who visited healthcare facilities to get tested for HIV and TB, as well a decrease in the number of people with HIV and TB who received treatment. The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has exposed vulnerable populations because basic, first line defences such as water and sanitation are lacking in many communities. As these three epidemics now collide it is critical that public health programmes, that have taken tremendous efforts and years to optimise, remain uninterrupted.” READ MORE


“India registered a decline in the notification of tuberculosis (TB) cases by about 85 per cent in April this year, after the imposition of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown. In other words, for every 100 cases being registered in India till January 2020, only 40 cases were registered by April due to a decline in access to TB services in the country, according to the Global Tuberculosis Report, 2020 released October 14, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO). ‘Many countries reported the use of GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing instead of diagnostic testing for TB (43 countries including 13 high TB burden countries, including India), reassignment of staff in national TB programmes to COVID-19 related duties and reallocation of budgets (52 countries including 14 high TB burden countries, including India),’ the report said.” READ MORE


“Some 430,000 HIV/AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa may have died over the past six months owing to interruptions in treatment due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Citing statistics from UNAIDS, Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) said the rise in deaths of HIV/AIDS patients was due to a decline in antiretroviral therapy during the virus lockdown, Nigeria’s This Day newspaper reported. The global agencies urged countries to take action to mitigate treatment interruptions, saying that failure to do so could raise AIDS-related deaths up to the level seen in 2008, when more than 950,000 died in the region. In a joint statement in May, WHO and UNAIDS said the disruption would continue to cause deaths for at least another five years, with an annual average excess in deaths of 40% over the next half a decade.” READ MORE

10/14/20: WHO: Global TB progress at risk (WOrld health organization)

“To reduce the need for visits to health facilities, many countries are encouraging home-based treatment, all-oral treatments for people with drug-resistant TB, provision of TB preventive treatment, and ensuring people with TB maintain an adequate supply of drugs. ‘In the face of the pandemic, countries, civil society and other partners have joined forces to ensure that essential services for both TB and COVID-19 are maintained for those in need,’ said Dr Tereza Kaseva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme. ‘These efforts are vital to strengthen health systems, ensure health for all, and save lives.’” READ MORE

10/14/20: Overcoming the Covid-19 disruption to essential health services (Eco-Business)

“HIV and tuberculosis (TB) testing and treatment are also being affected. South Africa is among the countries most affected by these diseases. During the country’s lockdown, declines in TB testing led to a 33 per cent decline in diagnoses. The number of TB and HIV patients collecting their medications on schedule has also fallen. Weaker adherence will ultimately lead to an increase in drug resistance, therapeutic failure, and higher treatment costs.” READ MORE

10/13/20: COVID-19 impacting HIV testing in most countries (UNAIDS)

“Fifty-six countries reported at least one month of HIV testing data to the platform between January and July 2020, with 17 supplying enough data to calculate trends over time. To measure the impact of COVID-19 on HIV testing services, a ratio was calculated relative to January—for example, if the number of tests in April was the same as in January, the ratio is 1; if there was a decline, the ratio is less than 1. Large, sustained decreases in HIV testing services have been seen across all countries except Rwanda, with reduced services reported for most countries starting in April. Five countries, Myanmar, Mozambique, Madagascar, Rwanda and Armenia, have rebounded to pre-COVID-19 testing levels, while in other countries, such as Guyana and Peru, testing remains low.” READ MORE

10/13/20: It’s Time for African Youth to Advance the Fight against Malaria (Global health now)

“Malaria affects the young more than the old, with pregnant women and children at greatest risk. So, it’s now our turn to turn the tide against this deadly disease; we can no longer rely on our elders. They have taken us far, with continued investment saving 7 million lives and preventing more than 1 billion malaria cases over the past 20 years. But with progress fragile and reversible and COVID-19 threatening to disrupt essential malaria services, we must keep up the fight to ensure these gains are not lost… When we already have access to lifesaving malaria nets, modern medicine, and other innovative tools to combat malaria, I personally cannot stand by and let malaria continue to kill 400,000 people—most of them African children—every year.” READ MORE

10/13/20: Is it dengue or COVID-19? Govt issues guidelines for co-infections of coronavirus with seasonal diseases (DNA India)

“Malaria and dengue can coexist with other infections, and thus a diagnosis of either of these does not rule out the possibility of the patient not suffering from COVID-19. ‘Similarly, a high index of suspicion of malaria and dengue must be there when a fever case is diagnosed as COVID-19, particularly during the rainy and post rainy season in areas endemic for these diseases,’ the [Health Ministry] added.” READ MORE

10/13/20: Indonesia’s constant battle against malaria amid pandemic (The jakarta post – indonesia)

“Transmission of COVID-19 in Indonesia has continued unabated and expanded to malaria-endemic areas, especially the country’s eastern province, such as East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku and Papua, forcing authorities there to step up vigilance to prevent a double burden of disease. Plasmodium a parasite that causes malaria in humans can damage the immune system, which is why malaria patients are prone to other infections, including COVID-19. Health Ministry data in April revealed an upward trend of malaria incidences in Indonesia and an increasing number of high malaria endemicity area. It will take more time and effort to combat the vector-borne disease because the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has laid a heavy burden on the healthcare system.” READ MORE

10/13/20: Being HIV Positive Increases Risk of Death From COVID-19 (medscape)

“People with HIV who are hospitalized for COVID-19 have a significantly heightened risk of 28-day mortality compared with people without HIV… ‘Right now we need greater numbers and we hope that the research community will be stimulated to take a closer look at this information, and merge other data so that we can strengthen confidence in the data and tease out what factors are causing this increased risk for mortality,’ [Anna Maria] Geretti [MD, PhD, professor of virology and infectious diseases, University of Liverpool] said. She also emphasized that all patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 should be asked about their HIV status. ‘It is important that the HIV status be recorded if we want to increase our ability to understand how HIV impacts survival,’ she stressed. ‘In our experience we found that most of the hospital records were not doing that. Since HIV+ patients seem to be at increased risk, HIV status should be factored into the clinical management. Ask patients if they are HIV+, and if it is not known, then do a test. That would be good practice.’” READ MORE

10/13/20: Namibia: Ministry Can’t Afford 322 TB Health Workers (the namibian)

“The Ministry of Health and Social Services lacks the financial means to employ 322 tuberculosis (TB) community health workers countrywide. This was revealed by executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe after 27 health workers from the Erongo region wrote to his office asking for their employment conditions to be reviewed to be offered permanent positions in the ministry. Many of the health workers have been with the TB programme since 2004 as volunteers at the height of the disease outbreak at Walvis Bay, Omaruru, Swakopmund, Karibib and Usakos. Nangombe attributes the lack of financial resources to the reduction in donor support to the country and continuing global economic challenges. ‘It is becoming increasingly pressing for Namibia to move to a more sustainable, domestically resourced health response. The provision of community-based health services is a key factor in this, as it is an area where significant development partner resources have been utilised over a long period,’ he says.” READ MORE

10/12/20: Chemists create new crystal form of insecticide, boosting its ability to fight mosquitoes and malaria (EurekAlert)

“’The use of more active crystal forms of insecticides is a simple and powerful strategy for improving commercially available compounds for malaria control, circumventing the need for developing new products in the ongoing fight against mosquito-borne diseases,’ said Bart Kahr, professor of chemistry at NYU and one of the study’s senior authors. ‘Improvements in malaria control are needed as urgently as ever during the global COVID-19 crisis,’ added Kahr. ‘The number of deaths from malaria in Africa this year is projected to double as a result of coronavirus-related disruptions to supply chains. We need public health measures to curtail both infectious diseases, and for malaria, this includes more effective insecticides.’” READ MORE

10/12/20: FEATURE-‘Corona carriers’: Stigma halts medication and meet-ups for HIV+ Malawians (reuters – malawi)

“It has also forced aid groups and healthcare facilities in the country of nearly 18 million to rethink medical treatment and education campaigns for major public health crises such as HIV/AIDS. ‘Voluntary male circumcision and HIV awareness programmes were suspended, mainly to make sure people don’t gather in crowds and expose them to COVID-19 risks,’ Ceesay said. Hope Banda, a 22-year-old community development student, said she and other HIV-positive people had been treated with suspicion by staff during recent hospital visits. ‘Most of us are now afraid to visit hospitals because at the gate they check our health passport books,’ Banda said, speaking at her grandmother’s home in Blantyre. Health passports in Malawi document a patient’s medical history – including their HIV status. The director of the Health Ministry’s HIV Treatment Unit Rose Nyirenda dismissed Banda’s allegations that HIV-positive people were being treated any differently.” READ MORE

10/12/20: Seven months on, pandemic still threatens AIDS care (the jakarta post– indonesia)

“A nationwide survey of 1,035 people with HIV carried out in August by the Indonesian office of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and nonprofit organization the Positive Indonesia Network (JIP) showed that 52 percent of respondents had only enough ARV drugs to last for a month. The ARV shortage was more serious than in the early weeks of the pandemic. The two organizations found in late March that 47.6 percent respondents had only a month’s worth of ARV medication left. ‘More and more people are lacking ARV stocks,’ said Ary Bumi Kartini, a JIP researcher involved in the study. ‘We must work together with the Health Ministry and other community-based organizations to ensure the availability of ARVs at national and regional levels during the pandemic.’ People with HIV/AIDS need to take ARV drugs every day to maintain and improve the quality of their lives and help prevent the spread of the infection to others. The medication can be accessed through health facilities, mostly hospitals. But 473 of the 1,035 respondents in the survey said they were reluctant to visit health facilities for ARV drugs because they feared exposing themselves to COVID-19.” READ MORE

10/11/20: Overcoming the Covid-19 disruption to essential health services (The Kathmandu Post– nepal)

“Health-care delivery in nearly every country has been disrupted by policymakers’ mistaken initial assumption that health systems would quickly win the fight against Covid-19. As the pandemic’s caseload and death toll are increasing daily, it is often stalling or reversing hard-won progress on minimising the impact of other diseases, from diabetes to malaria. At the start of the pandemic, many policymakers and health leaders considered a relatively short disruption of essential health services acceptable, but it is now clear that Covid-19 will persist much longer than anticipated. Countries can no longer postpone the delivery of crucial health services. Without immediate action to ensure their continuity, the future death toll from communicable and non-communicable diseases will be unacceptably high.” READ MORE

10/11/20: Lockdowns in Africa could spell devastating poverty, hunger and unemployment (INEWS – UK)

“Health budgets, often already inadequate, were blown on fighting Covid-19 as priorities were switched from more serious diseases in Africa such as malaria and tuberculosis. Now reports show the horrific collateral damage. One study said suspending distribution of insecticide-treated bednets and falling use of drugs could lead to malaria death rates not seen for two decades. Another warned that interrupting programmes to dole out deworming medicines will worsen the impact of malnutrition. Others highlight surging levels of infant and maternal mortality –with 1.16 million extra child deaths in one worst-case scenario for the continent – plus hundreds of thousands more deaths from TB and Aids-related illnesses.” READ MORE

10/11/20: Raise the Voices of Millions of Girls Who Hope and Dream of a Gender-Equal World (All Africa)

“UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is calling attention to the vulnerabilities and needs of women and girls, especially during the Covid-19 crisis… Progress towards ensuring girls are kept in school and not married off, in ending harmful practices such as FGM, and preventing and responding to gender-based violence and preventing them from HIV infection, is under serious threat. Every time a girl is subjected to FGM; forced into early marriage; sexually harassed, abused or coerced and – often – exposed to HIV infection and unplanned pregnancy as a result, her mental health and well-being is at risk.” READ MORE

10/10/20: The (RED) Campaign: Fighting HIV/AIDS Amid COVID-19 (borgen magazine)

“HIV causes AIDS, which disrupts the body’s ability to fight infection. In other words, those who have AIDS are immunocompromised, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress and slow the progression of HIV, which can reduce the chances of someone with HIV/AIDS becoming ill from viruses like COVID-19. That being said, those living in poverty are less likely to have access to antiretroviral medication and other lifesaving resources. They are also at a high risk of developing HIV as a result of socio-economic factors, among others. Roughly 70% of the world’s poor live in Africa. (RED) focuses on sub-Saharan Africa because it is home to two-thirds of the population with HIV and accounts for 90% of mother-to-child transmission. HIV/AIDS significantly impacts impoverished communities due to their lack of medical care, counseling and education. By lacking access to these critical sources, vulnerable communities cannot apply preventative measures to their daily lives.” READ MORE

10/10/20: In Cameroon, COVID-19 pandemic preventing HIV/AIDS patients getting treatment (Crux Now – cameroon)

“[Dr. Leslie C.] Chingang [head of HIV/AIDS programs for CRS in Cameroon] told Crux that in order to ensure that support for people living with HIV continued when COVID-19 cases were reported in Cameroon, CRS quickly re-thought their service delivery approaches. ‘Case workers typically visited program participants within their homes, engaging in face-to-face consultations — an activity that was halted to ensure safety for staff and program participants from COVID-19 transmission. The project adapted by conducting rapid assessments, which were administered virtually. Additionally, counseling support services were provided through voice calls and messaging,’ she said. To ensure that life-saving drugs continued to reach people with HIV, when COVID-19 cases were first reported in Cameroon, CRS adjusted its HIV programming to support home delivery of antiretroviral therapies and testing services. The project also responded to the need for awareness among people with HIV to ensure they are protected from COVID-19. Chingang said prevention messaging about avoiding COVID-19 was integrated into training for partners and caseworkers for use during consultations. In addition, protective materials including masks were also shared with partners where face-to-face meetings were required.” READ MORE

10/10/20: Covid-19: The fascinating science of what happens in the lungs of Covid-19 and TB patients (Health24 – south africa)

“[Professor Keertan] Dheda [general physician, pulmonologist, and a critical care specialist] says teamwork with frequent communication and levelling of hierarchies is essential in fighting a disease like Covid 19. ‘The epidemic made us rethink how we deal with non-Covid conditions, and we should leverage what we have learnt from Covid 19,’ he says. ‘For example, screening apps could also be used to screen for TB. Daily dashboards of TB numbers and deaths could also be very useful. The Department of Health is in the process of considering and implementing some of these approaches.’ Dheda says the decline in the number of TB cases diagnosed within the last few months is a major concern. ‘We need to think about going out into the community to actively find TB cases.  We need to think more deeply about how we can deal with non-Covid conditions like TB, heart disease [and] diabetes when we get second waves, so these conditions are not substantially side-lined.’” READ MORE

10/10/20: Pandemic stalls regular check-ups of HIV+ kids (Pune Mirror – India)

“Under government initiatives, check-ups and treatments of HIV patients are free at public facilities. Sassoon General Hospitals (SGH) and Yashwantro Chavan Memorial Hospital (YCMH) in Pimpri-Chinchwad. However, ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit, these government hospitals have been converted into COVID-19 centres — and thanks to this, organisations looking after HIV-positive children have not [been] able to take any of these kids to these facilities for their periodical check-ups. ‘The children with us require a check-up every six months. We had taken them to Sassoon in March — immediately thereafter, the lockdown was imposed. Now, their next check-up was due in September, but since the hospital is full of COVID-19 patients, we did not want to risk visiting with the children,’ said Mahesh Yadav, founder of Sparsh Balgram in Bopodi, which looks after HIV-positive orphans.” READ MORE


“They have stepped in where governments have failed to support or, worse, where authorities have used the exceptional circumstances to clamp down on people already stigmatised and discriminated against. Marginalised people living with or at risk of acquiring HIV face significant barriers to health and wellness at the best of times. These barriers have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures instigated to mitigate it. We are deeply concerned to see that people are struggling to meet their basic needs. No longer able to earn an income they cannot access essentials including food, water and shelter and have become increasingly dependent on government or community services, where these are available. Some health services are inaccessible. There are widespread reports of antiretroviral treatment shortages and disruptions to the supply of contraception, as well as interruptions to tuberculosis testing and treatment.” READ MORE

10/9/20: ZIMBABWE: Mash West Records Surge in Condom Uptake During Lockdown (All Africa)

“According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, a total of 2 million male and 200 thousand female condoms are distributed across the country. Adolescent girls and young women are at high risk of HIV since they face barriers in family planning which at times results in unintended teenage pregnancies. The province is expecting a sharp increase in teenage pregnancy but Dongo said they are still trying to get more statistics from the ground. ‘We are still trying to get more information from the ground but according to other sources teen pregnancies increased during lockdown,’ said Dongo. Moline Mapera, from Zvimba said rural families were idle during lockdown which predisposed them to sexual activity. ‘The lock-down has come with various surprises. We have seen a lot of teenage pregnancies in our communities. We were not expecting that this could happen. Most parents fear opening up on or reporting these cases. This may end up affecting the girl child negatively,’ she said,” The Ministry of Health and Child Care introduced the Condomize Campaigns that aim to promote the use of condoms and improve access to a wide variety of condoms across different societies.” READ MORE

10/9/20: ZAMBATT FET: Fighting Covid-19 and malaria in Birao (united nations peacekeeping – central AfricaN republic)

“With the twin threats of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and malaria still very much present in Birao, northern CAR – the Female Engagement Team of the Zambian Contingent rolled their sleeves up to assist schoolchildren and local authorities in cleaning and fumigating schools and government buildings – a MINUSCA outreach activity conducted on 8 October 2020. Decontamination of surfaces in public spaces is a key World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation to help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease; clearing mosquito breeding sites is similarly important in order to combat malaria. Mandated to champion the protection of civilians, peacekeepers from the Female Engagement Team of the Zambian Contingent (ZAMBATT FET) continually mobilize resources to support health, education, social and humanitarian needs on multiple fronts, in collaboration with the national authorities, UN agencies, civil society and local communities. Contingent Commander Captain Sharon Namuchimba, accompanied by the team’s environmental health technologist Lieutenant Tendai Mpande, led the team’s efforts to promote sanitation and improve health conditions in places of learning and government alike: Birao Primary School, the Birao Cabinet Office,  the Deputy Prefect’s Office and the offices of the National Election Authority were all fumigated.” READ MORE

10/9/20: Nigeria Now Gets HIV/AIDS Drugs At Cheaper Rate – Gambo (leadership – Nigeria)

“The COVID-19 pandemic, especially the lockdown has affected our ability to provide all the [HIV] services that we have been offering to people and to identify new [HIV] cases and place them on treatment. However, we are gradually returning to normalcy and we are hitting our targets in terms of monthly number that we identify afresh as well as patients that we have already placed on treatment.  They are coming to either get their drug refill or have their blood tested to identify how we are faring in suppressing the virus because it is very critical to suppress the virus spread because the more you suppress the spread, the more you succeed in keeping HIV within those people that have it and the more you deny the virus the opportunity to leave them and affect the people who don’t have the disease.” READ MORE


“Around 380,000 of 405,000 malaria deaths recorded globally in 2018 were in sub-Saharan Africa. With malaria-intervention efforts impacted by lockdowns and critical healthcare resources being diverted to coronavirus relief efforts, malaria cases could double from 2019 to 2020. Nigeria alone is expected to record an additional 81,000 malaria deaths in this period. The World Health Organisation is predicting an additional 200,000 deaths from TB this year. And with experts warning of economic collapse, increasing inequalities and spiralling epidemics from malaria to tuberculosis (TB), there is widespread fear that the progress made over the past two decades will be reversed.” READ MORE

10/8/20: Dengue, TB co-infection likely along with Covid: AIIMS Director (vishva times – india)

“As the coronavirus pandemic moves into the tenth month, all need to be cognizant of the co-infection that can occur with Covid-19, [All India Institute of Medical Sciences] Director Dr. Randeep Guleria said on Wednesday, as the apex institute witnessed dengue and tuberculosis infection in patients affected with coronavirus. ‘Co-infection with Covid-19 is an important issue as we are now seeing patients with Covid-19 who have other infections. It becomes a bigger challenge as far managing Covid-19 and dengue is concerned,’ said Dr. Guleria, who is also the part of a core team monitoring the pandemic. It is also difficult to distinguish symptoms of the two diseases due to overlapping initial clinical presentations and laboratory parameters, say experts. According to Dr. Pawan Tiwari, Assistant Professor at AIIMS’ Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, co-infection is an important concern, especially in severe Covid-19 cases.” READ MORE

10/8/20: A battle against two viruses (World magazine – south africa)

“The combined health crisis has made the situation especially difficult for HIV patients [in South Africa], and AIDS organizations have had to find creative ways to reach this vulnerable population. South Africa went into strict lockdown in late March, closing schools, shutting borders, and urging residents to stay home. The restrictions made it more difficult for people living with HIV to pick up their medicine. In South Africa’s eastern Gauteng province, the Department of Health reported a 20 percent reduction in medicine collections, totaling around 11,000 people. ‘We found that with the lockdown, [HIV patients] were scared to leave their homes,’ said Dino Rech of the Aurum Institute, a nonprofit working to eradicate HIV and tuberculosis. ‘We’ve seen some patients drop off treatment as a result of COVID.’” READ MORE

10/8/20: What the Pandemic Has in Store for the World (der Spiegel interntional)

“In truth, the situation is even more serious because people are not just dying from the coronavirus, but also because of it. In large parts of Africa, for example, pest control operations against the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito have been scaled back because of the pandemic. As a consequence, malaria is likely to cause more deaths now than it did in 2019. Vaccination campaigns against measles, the whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria have also been interrupted, as well as measures against AIDS and tuberculosis. Thousands and thousands of people could die as a result and the global progress that has been made in protecting against these infectious diseases could be set back by years.” READ MORE

10/8/20: UNAIDS issues guidance on reducing stigma and discrimination during COVID-19 responses (UNAIDS)

“’We know what works and what doesn’t, we know how to change beliefs and behaviour. For the last 30 years we have been successfully leading the HIV response, building valuable experience, knowledge and wisdom along the way,’ said Alexandra Volgina, Programme Coordinator, Global Network of People Living with HIV. ‘We want to share these to change people’s lives for the better, and to make our distinctive contribution to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Some countries have used existing criminal laws or new, COVID-19-specific laws, to criminalize alleged exposure or transmission of COVID-19, putting more people in overcrowded prisons, detention centres and other closed settings where COVID-19 is easily transmitted. ‘There is no greater manifestation of stigma than when it is enshrined in law. The use of the criminal law or other unjustified and disproportionate repressive measures in relation to COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in society, including many people living with HIV, exacerbating inequalities and perpetuating stigma,’ said Edwin J. Bernard, Executive Director of the HIV Justice Network. ‘Measures that are respectful of human rights and empowering of communities will be infinitely more effective than punishment and imprisonment. We hope that these evidence-based recommendations on reducing COVID-related stigma and discrimination will make a difference to those who need it most.’” READ MORE

10/7/20: COVID-19: examining theories for Africa’s low death rates (the conversation)

“So is Africa in the clear? Well, obviously not. There is still plenty of virus around and we do not know what may happen as the interaction between the virus and humans evolves. However, one thing that does seem clear is that the secondary effects of the pandemic will be Africa’s real COVID-19 challenge. These stem from the severe interruptions of social and economic activities as well as the potentially devastating effects of reduced delivery of services which protect millions of people, including routine vaccination as well as malaria, TB and HIV control programmes.” READ MORE

10/7/20: Malaria Consortium Expands Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention to Togo (malaria consortium – togo)

“Malaria Consortium plans to support the [National Program for the Fight Against Malaria] and other partners to strengthen the quality of [seasonal malaria chemoprevention] in Togo, delivered household-to-household by volunteer community distributors. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaria Consortium plans feature enhanced safety and infection prevention contingency measures, including guidance for community distributors, to ensure the safety of communities and distributors and minimise disruption to the campaign. Key areas of focus will be dedicated campaign planning, comprehensive training of community distributors and community engagement.” READ MORE

10/6/20: Malaria: 90% of life-saving interventions still on (The Premium Times – Nigeria)

“[The Roll Back Malaria Partnership to End Malaria] said the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to antenatal care, malaria diagnosis and treatment and other routine health services. This, the organisation said, has made pregnant women and children remain vulnerable to the disease which has claimed many lives globally. ‘Good health starts with proper care of pregnant women and children. Protecting pregnant women, their unborn babies and newborns from malaria will improve the health of mothers and their young children in those critical first years of life and can contribute towards the achievement of Africa’s broad health and development goals,’ the First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akuffo-Addo said.” READ MORE


“Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, reminded the participants that the nearly four decades-long HIV response has taught us that global solidarity is essential to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Like HIV, this new pandemic is not just a disease, it has social, economic, ethical and political implications on society and only a multisectoral approach, including the involvement of faith communities, can help the world to overcome it. ‘More than ever, it is important that faith communities and leaders are strong voices for people. This means, in a time of COVID-19, recognizing that a call to action on COVID-19 and a call to action on HIV should be complementary and synergistic—they are not in opposition to each other. We will rely on faith partners to be strong and true voices of support for people living with HIV,’ said Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme.” READ MORE


“Coronavirus has piled pressure on a health system already dealing with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, with the latter claiming an estimated 78,000 lives every year in the country, according to the WHO’s Global TB report. Shikwambana [COVID-19 ward manager at Taung hospital] and the other nurses sometimes speak to patients through the window, cutting down on the need for PPE and preserving precious supplies.” READ MORE


“Malaria strikes hardest against pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, who are now at even higher risk from the disease due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 11 million pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa were infected with malaria in 2018 (29% of pregnancies), resulting in nearly 900,000 children born with low birth weight, a leading cause of child mortality. Even when death is averted, low birthweight has adverse consequences on children’s growth and cognitive development. Each year, maternal malaria is also responsible for 20% of stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll, millions of people, particularly pregnant women and young children, remain vulnerable to malaria because access to routine health services – such as antenatal care and malaria diagnosis and treatment is at risk of disruption as a result of COVID-19.” READ MORE


“Mali’s ministry of health said this week that 59 people have died of malaria in the north since the start of the year, almost double the number of deaths over the same period last year. Rudy Lukamba, a Red Cross doctor in Mali, told AFP that Covid-19 ‘has absorbed a lot of attention and redirected some of the funds, which has caused delays in prevention activities’. ‘Cleaning up wetlands, clearing brushwood, drying up puddles, distributing mosquito nets and raising public awareness requires resources,’ he said. Medical workers in the north registered 13,000 malaria cases between September 21 and 27, marking an 88 percent increase on the previous week. Twenty-three people also died over that period, the health ministry said. ‘At the moment, the health system is really overwhelmed,” said Cheick Ag Oufene, a health centre administrator in the northern town of Kidal, who called the situation ‘very alarming.’”  READ MORE

10/5/20: Covid puts brakes on TB-free Karnataka plan (the new indian express – india)

“‘Panchayats [Village councils] will help identify vulnerable populations, ensure screening for TB, indulge in social mobilization and help reach out to people. There is also a need to destigmatize TB. For all this, cooperation is required from grassroot level politicians and administration of the government,’ [a health department] official said, adding that in urban areas, the misconception among well-off sections of society is that they cannot contract TB. Discussion on implementing this project with various gram panchayats has brought an overwhelming response and support from the members. However, the health department is unable to proceed with the plan with all the attention and resources of the state government focused on fighting Covid.” READ MORE

10/4/20: COVID-19 poised to push global response to HIV/AIDS to the fringes (the guardian)

“Even before COVID-19, global commitment to HIV/AIDS funding was already precarious and on the decline. The global health community was in a transition to shift the financial burden of HIV/AIDS mitigation efforts to countries, where the virus and disease remain endemic, with HIV/AIDS affected countries urged to take HIV/AIDS response as a domestic priority to ensure sustainability over time… With these countries, including the U.S., severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, bilateral and multilateral funding for HIV/AIDS will further diminish, and the HIV/AIDS global response pushed to the fringes. Like HIV/AIDS, the international community might be moving toward a COVID-19 exceptionalism. A COVID-19 exceptionalism may be the tipping point for HIV/AIDS assistance to low – and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, to decline at unprecedented levels.” READ MORE

10/3/20: malaria cases spike in northern mali (the guardian)

“’At the moment, the health system is really overwhelmed,’ said Cheick Ag Oufene, a health centre administrator in the northern town of Kidal, who called the situation ‘very alarming.’ Mahamadou Sangare, a doctor in the northern town of Aguelhok, said malaria has been wreaking havoc since the arrival of the rainy season. Treating severe cases is difficult in the remote north, he added, raising the likelihood of fatalities. Malaria claims hundreds of thousands of lives across the African continent each year. But the World Health Organisation warned in April that the coronavirus pandemic could disrupt campaigns against the mosquito-borne disease, leading to a spike in cases. Rudy Lukamba, a Red Cross doctor in Mali, told AFP that Covid-19 ‘has absorbed a lot of attention and redirected some of the funds, which has caused delays in prevention activities. Cleaning up wetlands, clearing brushwood, drying up puddles, distributing mosquito nets and raising public awareness requires resources,’ he said.” READ MORE

10/3/20: Leveraging the advances in HIV for COVID-19 (the lancet)

“In the short term, there have been some adverse impacts of COVID-19 on HIV research and services, as for many other diseases. Nearly all HIV clinical trials globally have halted or slowed enrollment to appropriately maximise safety for participants, and health services have seen reductions in screening, laboratory monitoring, and collections of medications, highlighting the fragility of health systems, especially in LMICs. Many HIV-focused laboratory-based research groups have moved to work on SARS-CoV-2. Finally, a decrease in resourcing for infectious diseases research, together with the economic impacts of COVID-19, could lead to less funding for HIV research and ongoing disruption of the provision of HIV and related services.” READ MORE

10/2/20: Malaria campaigns fight off Covid disruptions to deliver programmes (the guardian)

“More than 90% of anti-malaria campaigns planned this year across four continents are on track, despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

The delivery of insecticide-treated nets and provision of antimalarial medicinesin the majority of malaria-affected countriesacross Africa, Asia and the Americas were still going ahead, a high-level meeting organised by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria heard on Thursday. More than 200m nets are on track to be distributed across more than 30 countries and more than 20 million children in 12 countries across the Sahel are expected to receive essential antimalarial drugs. Kenya, Malawi and Ghana have managed to immunise more than 300,000 children against malaria through a pilot malaria vaccine programme launched last year.” READ MORE

10/2/20: Life-saving malaria campaigns on track despite COVID-19 (The new dawn – liberia)

“Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said: ‘This year, under the worst of circumstances, countries have proven they don’t need to choose between protecting populations from COVID-19 or malaria; they can – and should – do both. Despite the unprecedented challenges faced, it is a remarkable achievement that countries and their partners around the world have successfully sustained planned malaria efforts – including distributing record numbers of insecticide-treated nets and continuing the march to zero malaria – ensuring that communities remain protected from the deadly mosquito bite.’” READ MORE

10/1/20: Ethiopia: Towards Consolidating Malaria, Covid-19 Mitigation Endeavors (the ethiopian herald)

“The bottom line is, the effort to control malaria outbreak should be harmonized with the ongoing national COVID-19 mitigating endeavors; considering the fact that there are always limitations of resources in individual actions. Malaria screening activities, for instance, may be handled along with COVID-19 screening test. But most importantly, it is required to exert maximum effort to minimize the impact of malaria outbreak in the earlier periods through drying marshy lands and spraying chemicals as usual, to ban propagation of the vector. Earlier experiences show that malaria outbreak is, by and large, unstoppable; though its impact has been significantly reduced following the various intervention mechanisms undertaken so far.” READ MORE

10/1/20: Q&A: The need for flexibility and innovation in TB care — now more than ever (devex)

“’When you’re a DR-TB [drug-resistent tuberculosis] patient, there are routine tests [and] consultations that you have to get done. Now the health systems are so overwhelmed with everything, there’s just no space for such patients. Not just that, even people who live in rural areas have to go to cities because of the local restrictions [and some] are not able to do that. And the biggest component is injectables. You need a health care person to administer injectables for the DR-TB patients and that’s extremely challenging — demonstrating the importance of transitioning to all-oral regimens recommended by the World Health Organization. All of this is just the medical aspect of it. It’s a whole different mental health ballgame. A lot of patients, because of the stigma, find their sense of freedom in stepping out of the home and engaging in outdoor activities. They’re unable to do that right now because of COVID-19 and that’s very suffocating mentally for a lot of patients’ [Saurabh Rane, an extensively drug-resistant, or XDR, TB survivor living in India and an advocate for TB elimination].” READ MORE

10/1/20: Catastrophe avoided as malaria control measures on track across the world (the telegraph)

“British Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton, speaking at the UN General Assembly this week, said it was imperative to try to reach even the hardest to access. ‘During this pandemic and beyond, essential malaria services must continue, malaria patients must be protected from other health threats, and health must receive adequate attention and funding,’ she said. ‘We must collaborate, invest in what works, and continue to do all we can to protect the most vulnerable.’” READ MORE


“The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded the immediate attention of national health authorities, causing a certain “inattention” in relation to the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country, said Coelho. According to the official, there are around 340,000 people infected with HIV in Angola, of which only 93,000 are undergoing antiretroviral treatment. Coelho said that the country has registered a rupture in the “stock” of first and second line of antiretroviral treatment since March 2020. In addition to the shortage of medicines, COVID-19 has also increased social difficulties for HIV patients.” READ MORE


“With the public, government and media focused on Covid-19, reporting and screening of tuberculosis (TB) has taken a hit. From January to September, 45,839 cases of tuberculosis were notified in Karnataka. The actual numbers are much higher as Covid-19 has hit both active (door-to-door screening) and passive (people reporting to PHCs) TB case findings. Data shows notification of new TB cases dropped from 8,163 patients in January to 3,417 in August. Of the 45,839 cases, 9,212 were reported from private hospitals and 36,628 from government facilities. Last year, 90,176 cases were notified in the state, with 12,215 from private centres and 72,961 from public health facilities.” READ MORE


“The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded the immediate attention of national health authorities, causing a certain “inattention” in relation to the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country, said [Coelho]. According to the official, there are around 340,000 people infected with HIV in Angola, of which only 93,000 are undergoing antiretroviral treatment. Coelho said that the country has registered a rupture in the “stock” of first and second line of antiretroviral treatment since March 2020. In addition to the shortage of medicines, COVID-19 has also increased social difficulties for HIV patients.” READ MORE


“With the public, government and media focused on Covid-19, reporting and screening of tuberculosis (TB) has taken a hit. From January to September, 45,839 cases of tuberculosis were notified in Karnataka. The actual numbers are much higher as Covid-19 has hit both active (door-to-door screening) and passive (people reporting to PHCs) TB case findings. Data shows notification of new TB cases dropped from 8,163 patients in January to 3,417 in August. Of the 45,839 cases, 9,212 were reported from private hospitals and 36,628 from government facilities. Last year, 90,176 cases were notified in the state, with 12,215 from private centres and 72,961 from public health facilities.” READ MORE


“The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), has said at least three out of four persons afflicted with tuberculosis are yet to access health care in Nigeria. The Head of Communication and Social Mobilisation of NTBLCP, Itohowo Uko, on Wednesday said only 26 per cent of the estimated TB cases in Nigeria ‘were identified and have been put on treatment’. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic which is the current normal that we are facing has actually impacted negatively on the initial health-seeking behaviour of most of our people, as well as the adherence to even those that have been placed on treatments.’ “ READ MORE


“Principal investigator Dima Dandachi, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine, examined data that included 286 adult patients with HIV who were diagnosed with COVID-19 across 36 institutions in 21 states. Within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis, 57% of the patients required hospitalization, 16% required ICU admission and 9% did not survive. In the study, more than 94% of patients were actively taking HIV medication.” READ MORE


“The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), has said at least three out of four persons afflicted with tuberculosis are yet to access health care in Nigeria. The Head of Communication and Social Mobilisation of NTBLCP, Itohowo Uko, on Wednesday said only 26 per cent of the estimated TB cases in Nigeria ‘were identified and have been put on treatment’. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic which is the current normal that we are facing has actually impacted negatively on the initial health-seeking behaviour of most of our people, as well as the adherence to even those that have been placed on treatments.’ “ READ MORE

9/30/20: Projected HIV and Bacterial STI Incidence Following COVID-Related Sexual Distancing and Clinical Service Interruption (Medrxiv)

“The projected detrimental effects on HIV and STI incidence of clinical service interruption in the model demonstrate the critical importance of maintaining sexual health services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic response. Our model evaluated four clinical services for which there was already evidence of interruption to the relative degree in our scenarios. In some jurisdictions, health department staff assigned to HIV/STI partner services have been redeployed for COVID contact tracing. Interruption of ART care for persons living with HIV had the largest impact on projected excess HIV incidence in our model; this is a cause for particular concern given the dual impact ART interruption will have on HIV morbidity and transmission. Minimizing service interruption will require innovative approaches to ensure access to clinical services and overcome common barriers to care during the COVID pandemic, including travel limitations, limited access to telehealth, and gaps in health insurance. These approaches will remain important even as sexual health services return to pre-COVID capacity and long-lasting impacts on health care access affect re-engagement in services.” READ MORE


“Principal investigator Dima Dandachi, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine, examined data that included 286 adult patients with HIV who were diagnosed with COVID-19 across 36 institutions in 21 states. Within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis, 57% of the patients required hospitalization, 16% required ICU admission and 9% did not survive. In the study, more than 94% of patients were actively taking HIV medication.” READ MORE

9/30/20: Covid-19 could set fight against malaria back by 20 years, top UAE disease expert says (the national – united arab emirates)

“Simon Bland, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi’s Global Institute for Disease Elimination, said the impact of the pandemic has already set back eradication programmes for other diseases.

In the case of malaria, ‘the worst-case scenario is you get a doubling of deaths … from about 400,000 now to almost 800,000,’ he told The National. He estimated the fight against the disease, which kills thousands of children each year, could be set back two decades. Progress against tuberculosis, HIV and polio, which is close to eradication, could also be lost.” READ MORE

9/30/20: OPINION: Has our COVID fight crippled our efforts to fight HIV and TB? (bhekisisa centre for health journalism – south Africa)

“Although South Africa was right to take COVID-19 seriously, preparations caused many primary health programmes to be neglected, in particular for tuberculosis and HIV, and our vaccine programme. Essentially, many plans nearly collapsed or were seriously constrained. The risk of life lost to COVID-19 seemed to eclipse other diseases.” READ MORE

9/29/20: Global AIDS Policy Partnership Statement in Support of Heroes Act 2020 (Global AIDS Policy Partners)

“We are in the early stages of this new pandemic but have already seen the effects on these other long-standing epidemics. TB case detection programs have stalled in many countries; PEPFAR programs have had to adapt or have halted prevention programming; a number of HIV treatment centers have reported fewer people are accessing antiretroviral treatment raising the threat of greater mortality and HIV infection; and some malaria campaigns have been suspended. Years of sustained PEPFAR and GFTAM investment has strengthened supported countries’ laboratory networks, surveillance capacity, health care workers and supply chains, allowing them to respond efficiently and effectively to COVID-19. But capacity has become strained as the need to fight both epidemics simultaneously takes hold. While this represents a critical investment in addressing the primary and secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession, much more is and will be needed in the months to come in order to preserve decades of US investments in global health and economic development globally.” READ MORE


“The [Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis (TB)]’s local partners have taken on increased importance in supporting the continuation of TB care during the pandemic of COVID-19, as many government health facilities have shut down. As the world comes together in fighting COVID-19, it is important to prevent a reversal in our efforts to end TB. COVID-19 and its related lockdowns and disruptions are projected to set progress in fighting TB back at least five years — which will result in more undiagnosed and untreated TB cases and further the spread of the disease and the strain it puts on families, communities, and countries. Because of this threat, the Accelerator’s approach to build local solutions and develop more effective and efficient interventions is more important than ever. As the U.S. Government’s lead Agency on efforts to eliminate TB around the globe, USAID will continue to build national capacity to recover from COVID-19’s setbacks and end TB.” READ MORE

9/29/20: Meals As Medicine: Feed The Hungry To Treat The Tuberculosis Pandemic (health affairs)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has set global TB elimination efforts back an estimated five to eight years. To meet the goals of the End-TB Strategy, we must take immediate and radical action. Continued investment in diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines is critical, but we must also invest in meals as we do in medicines. The only way to make rapid progress toward TB elimination is extend our work upstream and focus on prevention by addressing socioeconomic factors such as undernutrition. Yes, COVID-19 demands money and attention, but we cannot forget that TB is a persistent threat to the health of millions.” READ MORE


“Further pressure on the Indian healthcare system is only one month away as India’s rainy season draws to an end and with it the perfect breeding conditions for dengue and malaria-carrying mosquitos. In previous years, thousands of community healthcare workers, known as ASHAs, would carry out a nationwide awareness campaign and deliver mosquito nets to homes. Already, at least ten million fewer house visits have been carried out due to Covid-19 restrictions and Dr Saibal Jana, a malaria specialist doctor from Chhattisgarh state, says hospitals there are already seeing a six-fold increase in cases compared to 2019. ‘Post Covid-19, when India tries to limp back to normal, it is going to have a lot of work to do to catch up again,’ said Dr Joshi.” READ MORE


“The COVID-19 pandemic has set global TB elimination efforts back an estimated five to eight years. The only way to make rapid progress toward TB elimination is extend our work upstream and focus on prevention by addressing socioeconomic factors such as undernutrition. Yes, COVID-19 demands money and attention, but we cannot forget that TB is a persistent threat to the health of millions.” READ MORE


“With compromised immunity, TB patients stand a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. When the coronavirus outbreak began Dr Lalit Anande, medical superintendent of Sewri TB hospital, was concerned about his TB patients, he said, ‘I thought all my TB patients will die, in fact, I thought we will be free from TB. Instead, we saw a decrease in TB patients visiting us due to the fear of going out and contracting Covid-19.’” READ MORE

9/28/20: Malawai: Mchinji incapacitated in timely tb diagnosis (ALL AFRICA)

“Tuberculosis (TB) Coordinator for Mchinji, Steve Nyika said the district was struggling to diagnose TB cases due to shortage of diagnostic equipment in the District’s Health facilities.

Speaking during a health stakeholders briefing on fundamentals of TB Preventive Therapy (TPT) on Friday, he said the District currently has one gene expert machine and one x-ray machine installed at the district referral hospital which is currently not functioning. Nyika expressed fear that cases TB cases could be pilling up in the district. ‘We take much time to test samples from remote areas due to logistical challenges, as a result most people would rather stay home until the situation worsens,’ he said. Nyika said the TB service delivery has also been affected with the coming of Covid-19 which compromised collecting and delivery of samples from rural health facilities.” READ MORE


“[Zolelwa Sifumba] thought her 18-month fight against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis was a career low-point until – five years on – she fell ill with COVID-19 and acute anxiety while working on the pandemic frontlines with scant protective equipment and support. ‘I’m tired of almost dying all the time,’ said Sifumba, 29, who blogs and campaigns on doctors’ health issues, speaking from the Durban psychiatric hospital where she checked herself in for treatment after reaching breaking point at work. After months of not sleeping, sudden bursts of tears, loss of appetite and continuous waves of panic, Sifumba decided that to be a good doctor she had to prioritise her mental health. The pandemic has piled pressure on a health system already dealing with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, with the latter claiming an estimated 78,000 lives every year in the country, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global TB report.” READ MORE

9/28/20: Concerns: COVID Consequences (POZ)

“Disruptions in prevention and treatment services due to the COVID-19 pandemic could overwhelm fragile health systems and lead to a substantial increase in deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide, experts warn. In fact, these excess deaths could equal those directly caused by the new coronavirus… But there is still an opportunity to substantially reduce the death toll by prioritizing the most critical services: antiretroviral therapy for HIV, timely diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis and durable insecticide-treated nets to control mosquitoes that spread malaria.” READ MORE

9/27/20: In fighting the pandemic, the government has ignored other deadly health issues (the kathmandu post– NEPAL)

“Detection of new tuberculosis cases has declined by 50 percent across the country since the nationwide lockdown was enforced on March 24. Doctors say undetected and untreated tuberculosis cases could lead to a major spike in new infections and deaths. ‘If not treated, one TB patient can transmit the disease to 10 others,’ Dr Kedar Nursing KC, a senior chest physician and tuberculosis expert, told the Post. ‘If such a huge number of people infected with TB are not being diagnosed, it will lead to a public health disaster.’” READ MORE

9/27/20: We are emerging from the Covid-19 surge, but the shadows will stalk us – Mkhize (maverick citizen – south Africa)

“Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine Professor Linda- Gail Bekker said she thought a vaccine would likely take another nine to 18 months ‘if all goes well.’ ‘Perhaps it will be even longer for us to get it here in South Africa. Once it gets here, if it is efficacious and safe I think the uptake will be good. For the next six to 12 months, however, we will still have low level infections occurring throughout South Africa,’ she said. After six months he believed the country was overdue for a proper conversation about how the vulnerable should be protected, said Professor Francois Venter, the deputy executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute. He said primary healthcare service came crashing down during the pandemic, leaving those with HIV/Aids, TB, diabetes and other chronic illnesses in an especially vulnerable place. ‘We could have kept primary healthcare going were it not for our almost overdramatic response,’ he said. ‘Even now we are hearing reports from across the country of TB patients lost to follow-up and stock-outs of ARVs. Covid-19 deaths and infections have been pitted against all other diseases.’” READ MORE

9/26/20: Covid-19 has taught us how to manage a pandemic (india legal)

“Notified TB cases have declined by 26 percent during January to June 2020 in comparison with last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India has adopted a policy of bidirectional TB-Covid screening under which all newly diagnosed TB patients or those currently on treatment are tested for Covid-19 and all Covid-19 cases are screened for TB symptoms. Persons with influenza like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) are also screened for TB. This will help the country realise its goal of ending TB by 2025.” READ MORE

9/26/20: Cecilia Senoo: To defeat Covid-19, protect progress against HIV, TB and Malaria and save lives, we must unite to FIGHT (ghana web portal)

“Schools have been closed for months and gladly, they are gradually re-opening. For out-of-school girls, this can mean a greater risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy, forced marriage and HIV infection. The longer a girl is out of school, the less likely that she will return. The level of risk is enormous. Measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on HIV, TB and malaria should involve a combination of intensive community engagement and maintaining awareness of the importance of services to defeat the three diseases while emerging from the Covid-19 response. Programs must identify and address gender inequalities in their design and response.” READ MORE

9/26/20: Tuberculosis And Covid-19: Fighting A Deadly Syndemic (FORBES)

“Diagnostic and pharma companies are all hyper-focused on Covid-19 right now. This is necessary, but, again, cannot come at the expense of manufacturing tests and medicines for TB, AIDS, malaria and other existing threats. ‘Now that the world has witnessed how easily one infectious killer can affect millions, I hope more people will realize that TB is and will always be a major problem for us all,’ says Zolelwa Sifumba, a South African physician who survived drug-resistant TB, and, more recently, had Covid-19 as well. ‘The very same urgency and actions we are taking against Covid-19 are needed against TB. It’s time for our leaders to recommit to the goals set two years ago. Action is needed now as we are losing the gains made and risk losing even more lives globally,’ she added.” READ MORE

9/25/20: South Africa: Covid-19 and Rural South Africa – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Doctors without borders)

“When COVID-19 hit, one of the biggest questions for the medical community was this: how do we protect people living with HIV and TB from the risk of infection in health facilities, while at the same time ensuring that vital health services for these vulnerable populations are maintained? MSF [Medecins Sans Frontieres] in Eshowe came up with a strategy that aims to deliver medication for stable, asymptomatic patients with chronic conditions at easy-to-reach pick-up points in their communities. ’We worked out that there are approximately 19,000 individuals on anti-retroviral treatment in our area and designed a process for identifying which of these would be eligible to receive their medication at community pick-up points. 1,500 have been enrolled for this service to date, saving them time and money,’ [Dr. Liesbet] Ohler [MSF infectious diseases specialist] says.” READ MORE

9/25/20: Africa Needs Fiscal Space, More Representation in Security Council as COVID 19 Erases Hard Won Development Gains Across Continent, Speakers Tell General Assembly (United Nations General Assembly)

“Turning to COVID‑19, [Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger] said Niger was able to control the spread of the virus with an immediate health response and broader measures for economic and social mitigation including food distribution, free social services and tax breaks. However, the pandemic also has an impact on malaria, tuberculosis and other tropical diseases in Niger, he said, calling for better treatments and vaccines for all the illnesses threatening the African continent. Africa only receives 1 per cent of global health­care spending and 40 per cent of medical products sold on the continent are counterfeit or of poor quality.” READ MORE

9/24/20: The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on tuberculosis control in China (the lancent regional health – western pacific)

“The impact of COVID-19 on TB control in China can be examined from two sides. Patients were either unable to access medical services due to closures and travel restrictions or hesitated due to concerns about infection with COVID-19. It might be a positive impact on less transmission occurring outside the household and negative impact on more transmission within the household during the lockdown phase. Meanwhile, health service providers working in TB experienced lack of both human resources and laboratory capacity. In the aftermath of the epidemic, there will likely be pent-up demand for TB services, for which it is necessary to prepare.” READ MORE

9/24/20: 70% of Bihar’s TB control staff still on Covid duty as state records steep fall in diagnosis (the print– india)

“Speaking to ThePrint, K.N. Sahay, state TB officer for Bihar, said 54,000 patients are currently being treated under his watch, attributing the decline in notifications to the lockdown. ‘All the testing centres were closed during the lockdown. Even now, only 50 per cent of those have opened,’ Sahay said. ‘One of the key challenges right now is that even if the treatment is initiated, we are not able to follow up… 70 per cent of my staff has still been deployed for treatment of Covid-19,’ he added. Doctors in Bihar say some TB patients have started seeking treatment after the lockdown was eased. Dr Vinay Kumar, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS Patna, said: ‘About 6-7 per cent patients are coming back for TB-related OPDs. TB patients have largely been neglected in the state due to lockdown; there isn’t enough staff to test and control the disease.’” READ MORE

9/24/20: COVID-19 hassles hampers fight against dengue in Delhi (the new indian experess – india)

“The primary work of fumigation, screening of houses and identifying breeding spots are done by the municipal corporations. However, their work this year has largely been affected due to multiple reasons, primarily Covid-19. ‘The first is that the domestic breeding checkers (DBC) cannot visit the houses or enter to check if the coolers are kept clean or if there is stagnant water which can be a potential breeding spot for mosquitoes. This is owing to coronavirus. Also, not all the streets can be fogged as many fall under containment zones. So, overall, coronavirus has affected a lot of measures taken to counter dengue and malaria,’ said Dr Pramod Kumar, additional medical health officer, North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Another factor is the deferment of salaries to staffers due to the tight budgets that local bodies are operating with.  

‘Budget is another issue. More funds are required to carry out the ground-level work. Also, many of the DBC workers and staffers are engaged in other sanitation work related to Covid-19,’ said Dr BK Hazarika, South MCD Health Officer. Dr Punit Mishra, Professor, Community Medicine, AIIMS Delhi noted that owing to similar symptoms such as high fever, body ache, headache among others, patients are first tested getting tested for Covid-19 rather than the other common vector-borne diseases. ‘There is a lot happening with diagnostic delays. People, if tested negative for corona, are not going for dengue or malaria tests. Therefore, many cases are not getting reported. Also, there are fewer blood donations this time and that might affect the treatment of patients with vector-borne disease.’” READ MORE

9/24/20: India will be able to end TB by 2025: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (economic Times healthworld – india)

“[Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare] pointed out that poverty is a powerful determinant of tuberculosis and undernutrition an important risk factor of developing active TB disease. ‘To address this, we are providing cash incentives through Direct Benefit Transfers for nutritional support and since April 2018, Rs 7.9 billion (around USD 110 million) have been distributed to over 3 million beneficiaries. Affordable and quality TB care is a priority for our Government,’ he stated. The Minister further spoke about India’s fight against COVID-19 and said: ‘We reached a historic low in the month of April with lockdown in full force, but through sustained efforts, we have managed an increase of 43 per cent in May and another 25 per cent in June.’ To mitigate the impact, the government has been issuing constant advisories to the States to ensure convergence of TB case finding with COVID-19 efforts, he said adding that ‘we have initiated bi-directional screening among TB and COVID patients, and screening for TB among influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).’” READ MORE

9/24/20: Responding to covid-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a balance Part II (Partnership for evidence-based covid-19 response)

“In countries with the most reported disruptions to communicable disease care, missed visits for suspected malaria were most common; disruptions were also more prevalent in countries with a high burden of the malaria (e.g., Uganda, Cameroon and Nigeria). Overall, significant missed visits for malaria care aligned with growing reports of outbreaks across Africa. Disruptions to other communicable disease care were less frequent, but could have major health consequences at both the individual and population level: 4% of respondents reported disruptions to vaccinations, 2% for HIV treatment, and 1% for tuberculosis…” READ MORE


“The [World Health Organization’s] researchers noted that although an interruption in the supply of ART would have the largest impact of any potential disruptions, effects of poorer clinical care due to overstretched health facilities, interruptions of supply of other drugs such as cotrimozamole, and suspension of HIV testing would all have substantial effect on population-level mortality over a year. The [WHO] study, however, noted that social distancing would lead to a reduction in risky sexual behaviour. ‘Interruption in condom supplies and peer education would make the population more susceptible to increases in HIV incidences,’ it states. Research findings by the Lancet published in August showed that interruption of ART would increase mother to child transmission of HIV by approximately 1.6 times.” READ MORE


“Sub-Saharan Africa could be facing up to 500,000 additional AIDS-related deaths due to coronavirus  – that’s according to a warning from the UN Aids agency UNAID. In Uganda, a hike in public transport costs and border closures, have made it very expensive for people to get to pharmacies and hospitals to pick up life-saving drug refills. So far, less than two and half thousand people in the country have tested positive for coronavirus, but social distancing rules and other restrictions remain in place.” READ MORE

9/23/20: Covid-19 and Malaria – How Surveillance Systems Can Adapt to Fight Both (Malaria consortium)

“’Strong surveillance is the foundation for robust health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic brings with it risks of a diversion of resources and a drop in surveillance for other diseases like malaria. It is critical, at this time, to listen to a breadth of perspectives from different countries to reflect on our experience and lessons learnt. Collectively we’ll be able to better identify priorities, document best practice and identify optimal approaches that address both new and existing surveillance challenges.’ Arantxa Roca-Feltrer, Head of Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation at Malaria Consortium and RBM MERG co-chair.” READ MORE

9/23/20: Bill Gates: The Pandemic Has Erased Years of Progress (the atlantic)

“’This [Goalkeeper’s Report] had to deliver the news that if you only look at COVID deaths, you’re actually missing the scale of the setback. Because it’s also routine immunization, malaria, getting HIV medicines. Things are so disrupted, even gathering the numbers for that was very, very difficult. But we dropped our routine-immunization levels by over 14 percent. There’s going to have to be a stronger equity agenda, hopefully on a global basis, once we get out of this. Thirty-seven million people have been driven into extreme poverty. That’s really just gut-wrenching. Most of the time when we talk about infectious diseases, our problem is, the world doesn’t pay attention to malaria or TB. Here, because people care so much about getting the [COVID-19] vaccines, they’re actually saying,‘Okay, we should maybe be even less generous.’ The kind of generosity that historically has helped might even go down.’ [Bill Gates]” READ MORE

9/23/20: Maintaining robust HIV and TB services in the COVID-19 era: A public health dilemma in Zimbabwe (international journal of infectious diseases – zimbabwe)

“Health workers have been reassigned to meet the COVID-19 testing demand leading to very few people conducting HIV and TB testing. Medical staff anxiety and burn out is also playing a role on testing as staff are overwhelmed with COVID-19 testing… With the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing, diversion of HIV and TB funds should be taken with much caution. Zimbabwe HIV and TB response heavily relies on imported consumables, test kits and medication. Supply chain activities in the COVID-19 era is have been disrupted with closure of borders and grounding of cargo ships and flights. This calls for the government to do more on ensuring the country’s stockpile is well stocked for these unprecedented disruptions. The aggressive national COVID-19 mass media campaign has seen HIV, TB and other chronic disease clients less likely to attend facilities due to fear of contracting the COVID-19. This is coupled with the lack of movement of public transportation, fear of encounters with law enforcement officers and curfews. These barriers to care may result in increased HIV and TB – related morbidity and mortality in the short-term.” READ MORE

9/23/20: Describing COVID-19 pandemic as wake-up call, dress rehearsal for future challenges, Secretary-General opens annual General Assembly debate with vision for solidarity (RELIEF WEB)

“Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said global health care and humanitarian workers expect the world to respond to COVID‑19 together. ‘This demands that we cooperate, that we invent new international solutions,’ he said. Until a cure is found, the world must learn to live with the virus — and a new reality that reveals the dizzying level of global vulnerability. After years of progress in fighting HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, there are now 37 million people who have fallen into abject poverty and more than 1 billion students affected by school closings.” READ MORE

9/23/20: WHO supports government to integrate COVID-19 case finding into TB surveillance activities (WHO Africa – nigeria)

“Ms Janet Ishaya is one of the beneficiaries of renewed efforts to curb COVID-19 in Nigeria, whereby World Health Organization (WHO) supports the government in an initiative to improve contact tracing, active case search and testing with support of the already existing Tuberculosis (TB) infrastructure in the country. The outbreak of COVID-19 in February 2020 and the presence of public health response measures put in place to curtail the spread of the global pandemic in the country had led to palpable fear in the TB community that the virus might impact on the active TB case finding activities. However that took a different turn as the structure is being effectively utilized to combine TB and COVID-19. Presently, all the 36 + 1 S Nigerian States are currently including COVID-19 in their TB response to ensure that no case is missed and every positive case is handled accordingly.” READ MORE


“People with HIV who had a low CD4 cell count or underlying health conditions were more likely to have poor outcomes after admission to hospital with COVID-19, US doctors report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. They found that even when HIV was suppressed on antiretroviral treatment, people with low CD4 counts below 200 were almost three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than people with CD4 counts above 500. People with HIV aged 60 or over were seven times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people under 40 and the risk of death was also raised in the 40-60 age group (82 cases in this age range) (RR 2.3). People with HIV with CD4 cell counts below 200 were around three times more likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (OR 3.67, 95% CI 1.64-17.1, p < 0.01) or to suffer a severe outcome (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.02-7.67, p = 0.05) than people with CD4 cell counts above 500.” READ MORE

9/22/20: anti-tb program—Another victim in covid-19 frenzy (philippine daily inquirer – philippines)

“[In] the Philippines, 70 Filipinos die every day. We need to sustain the initiatives which appear to be effective in TB control, and we need funds to keep the momentum going. Cutting the budget for TB control next year by P1 billion is definitely a big blow that can dissipate whatever gains that have been achieved in the last five years. What a big waste that would be! The 65-member organizations of Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT), along with TB advocates and survivors, wrote an urgent letter to Sen. Bong Go, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, calling for the restoration of the TB budget for next year to maintain the National TB Program (NTP). The implementation of the Philippine Strategic TB Elimination Plan, Phase One, which started in 2018 and will be completed by 2023 will greatly suffer with the budget cut.” READ MORE

9/22/20: COVID-19 Could Activate Latent Tuberculosis (san diego state university news)

“’When people get sick with SARS-CoV-2, they could not only activate their latent TB, but also transmit their TB along with SARS-CoV-2 to others,’ [Faramarz] ]Valafar [professor at San Diego’s State University’s School of Public Health] said. ‘The U.S has been spared from the wrath of drug resistant TB so far, but may no longer be that lucky. We need to prepare. We may start seeing strains that are atypical in the United States very soon.’ People who have traveled abroad and acquired drug resistant TB in its latent form in the past may now experience activation of their latent TB because of COVID-19, he noted. He fears this could cause outbreaks of drug resistant TB in the U.S. Valafar explained that the TB bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen and remains latent, waiting for people’s immune system to become compromised — as in the case of AIDS,  or overwhelmed — as in the case of COVID-19, before it activates. ‘We have already seen the synergy between TB and AIDS, so it’s a distinct possibility,’ he said. ‘While having TB could make people more susceptible to COVID-19, the coronavirus can also help spread TB much faster, acting as a vehicle of transmission.’” READ MORE


“The coronavirus pandemic is like a black hole, consuming global health resources and the concerted efforts of countless medical professionals around the globe. It’s threatening progress against other killer diseases, such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. ‘What makes this pandemic unprecedented is not the virus, but the response to it, which is mostly driven by fear and panic that overestimates and overreacts,’ says Ade Adeyemi, who heads up the global health fellowship at Chatham House.” READ MORE


“There is an increase in malaria and cholera cases compared to previous years due in part to COVID-related disruptions severely impeding diagnosis and treatment of the diseases, access to relief from floods as well as affordability of mosquito nets. Apart from the strain on health facilities during the pandemic, in some countries such as Somalia, Kenya and Sierra Leone, we are seeing that a fear of exposure to COVID-19 has prevented parents from taking their children to hospital, delaying diagnosis and treatment of malaria and increasing preventable deaths. COVID restrictions in some countries have also meant pregnant women have missed antimalarial drugs. Untreated malaria in pregnant women can increase the risk of anaemia, premature births, low birth weight and infant death.” READ MORE


“The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents a massive challenge for healthcare systems globally. Rapid case-finding and patient isolation are crucial to limit transmission and avoid exceeding capacity limits of critical healthcare infrastructures. A recent modeling analysis showed a 70% drop in the probability of TB [tuberculosis] diagnosis per visit to a healthcare provider because of reduced laboratory capacity and availability of healthcare staff secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic in countries like India, Kenya, and Ukraine.” READ MORE


“According to the Jamaica Community of Positive Women (JCW+), many of their clients reported having received only one month’s supply of HIV treatment, although they were hoping for the recommended three months. New screening protocols at certain clinics have made some people feel exposed to unfamiliar health-care staff and unexpected disclosure of their HIV status. A few women report not having been able to access contraception on time. According to the Coordinator of JCW+, Olive Edwards, the pressure of dealing with both pandemics has had a huge mental health impact on women living with HIV.” READ MORE

9/21/20: 90–90–90: good progress, but the world is off-track for hitting the 2020 targets (unaids)

“The COVID-19 pandemic also could have an impact on viral load. Early modelling showed that a severe disruption in HIV treatment could result in additional AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries have reported reductions in medicine collections of up to 20% in some areas and there have been multiple reports of people living with HIV not having enough antiretroviral medicine for a lockdown of more than 60 days, as well as reports of people having abandoned their HIV treatment due to a lack of food. However, monthly data from January to June 2020 reported by countries to UNAIDS have not shown substantial declines in the numbers of people currently on treatment over the six-month period.” READ MORE

9/21/20: COVID-19 in malaria-endemic regions: potential consequences for malaria intervention coverage, morbidity, and mortality (the lancet infectious diseases)

“Guidance on the need for and importance of testing for malaria and other diseases during the pandemic should be communicated to health-care providers and resources made available to facilitate [the education of healthcare providers and the general population ‘on the potential for misdiagnosis of malaria or COVID-19, as well as the potential for co-occurrence’]. Furthermore, communication of these messages to communities is important to ensure that people with malaria are not scared to visit hospitals and community clinics in fear of misdiagnosis, which could limit their timely access to safe and legitimate antimalarials. In addition, it is worth asking whether there could be an increased risk of mosquito bites for individuals or families observing isolation or quarantine (whether either individually or in groups) that warrants them to stay in the same locality for extended periods, especially if done so in the absence of [insecticide-treated nets]. If so, then perhaps our concern with regard to malaria transmission should also extend to other mosquito-transmitted diseases.” READ MORE

9/21/20: Covid-19 and HIV – So Far It Seems the Outcome Is Not What Was Feared (the conversation – south Africa)

“Concern over HIV-positive patients is understandable. But current data from the COVID-19 pandemic – and past experiences with SARS and MERS – suggest that they do not form an at-risk group. This raises the question of whether HIV serves as an immunological shield against more severe forms of the new disease. What has been quite apparent from the start is that old age and co-morbidities such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes are more telling considerations in both general infections and HIV/SARS-CoV-2 co-infections. Based on what we now know, should a second or even a third wave of COVID-19 be forthcoming, state and health officials should consider a more strategic and targeted approach to containment.” READ MORE

9/21/20: Coronavirus rumours and regulations mar Burkina Faso’s malaria fight (Thomson reuters foundation – burkino faso)

“Now there are fears malaria cases could rise in Burkina Faso as restrictions due to coronavirus slow down a mass treatment campaign and rumours over the virus causing parents to hide their children, according to health workers and aid officials. ‘COVID-19 has the potential to worsen Burkina Faso’s malaria burden,’ said Donald Brooks, head of the U.S. aid group Initiative: Eau, who has worked on several public health campaigns in the country. ‘If preventative campaigns can’t be thoroughly carried out and if people are too scared to come to health centres … it could certainly increase the number of severe cases and the risk of poor outcomes,’ he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.” READ MORE

9/21/20: monsoon fevers are complicating the coronavirus repsonse in rural india (scroll – india)

“‘Every day, we face this problem that people who got admitted to a general ward with suspicion of dengue or malaria turned out to be Covid-positive. Or a person who had a stroke or heart attack, or was scheduled for surgery and did not have any symptoms turns out to be Covid-positive when tested as part of the pre-op assessment. This creates a huge amount of confusion and panic in the system among the healthcare workers treating them, even though we teach them that every person should be assumed to be Covid-positive unless proved otherwise. Given our facilities – old buildings, old infrastructure – it becomes extremely difficult for them to protect themselves and reliably distinguish non-Covid illnesses from Covid’ [SP Kalantri, medical superintendent at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital].” READ MORE

9/20/20: Five strategies for preserving key population-focused HIV programmes in the era of COVID-19 (International aids society)

“Key populations… are particularly vulnerable to HIV service interruptions and additional harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stigma, discrimination, violence and other human rights violations routinely experienced by key populations will likely worsen, as will unemployment, housing instability and food insecurity. This will compound the obstacles key populations face in accessing services, perhaps making it more likely they will be denied assistance when they seek care. Other important services… may be deprioritized as non-essential. Collectively, these experiences will have far-reaching consequences on mental health, exacerbated by physical distancing, and undermine HIV responses.” READ MORE

9/20/20: africa: rethinking public healthcare systems in africa – a covid-19 reflection (The street journal – nigeria)

“While African governments urgently address the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, they should simultaneously address co-morbidities (particularly diseases presenting with a cough or fever, along with diabetes). Given the known influence of clinical activity and health seeking behaviour on TB and HIV detection, primary healthcare staff need to be alert for these conditions during the C-19 pandemic. Undetected TB and HIV will exacerbate the C-19 death count.” READ MORE

9/19/20: fight against tb has slowed down due to covid-19 pandemic: kj Alphons (yahoo news – india)

“Rajya Sabha MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader KJ Alphons on Saturday raised the issue of Tuberculosis cases in the country and said that the fight against this infectious disease has slowed down due to coronavirus pandemic. He urged the Centre to work in the direction for treating the people infected with TB. ‘There are 24 lakh Tuberculosis patients in India. Due to the focus on fighting COVID19, the fight against TB has slowed down,’ he said in the Upper House.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India has fixed a deadline of 2025 for eradicating TB against the global deadline of 2030. He has asked MPs to work for its removal.” READ MORE

9/18/20: Patients on ARVs forced to make do with only seven days’ supply as clinics face shortages (health-E NEWS – south africa)

“France Motha is worried about running out of the HIV antiretroviral treatment, as the supply he got at the beginning of September at the Daveyton clinic dwindles. Earlier this month Motha went to the clinic as usual to get his treatment. The clinic gave him some medication and nurses told to come back to get the rest of his prescription was experiencing shortages. The Daveyton was measuring out medication to accommodate all their HIV patients with the little that they have. ‘On Monday the 14th I went back to the clinic to get treatment for myself and wife, but I was given a seven days’ supply for both of us,’ Motha tells Health-e News. Motha says he is very disappointed with the Healthcare system. The limited seven days’ supply means he has to go back to the clinic each week until 14 December.” READ MORE

9/18/20: This Foundation Is Helping LGBTQ+ Community In India To Combat Impact Of COVID-19 (the logical indian – india)

“People from the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those living with HIV are facing barriers in getting their medications. Being able to afford and access medical care is essential for testing of COVID 19 as well as treating the symptoms of the disease. However, LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to lack health coverage or monetary resources to visit a doctor even when medically necessary because of a lack of support and acceptance of us in the society and awareness among doctors. The community is vulnerable to COVID 19 infection, and it continually bothers each one of us that how gay, trans, or non-binary identities will be treated at the isolation facilities as the system remains binary.” READ MORE

9/18/20: COVID-19 Brings jamaican people living with hiv closer together (UNAIDS)

“There are an estimated 32 000 people living with HIV on the Caribbean island. In 2019, just 44% of them were on antiretroviral therapy, while roughly one third (35%) were virally suppressed. While most people access treatment through the public health-care sector, community organizations like JN+ play a key role in supporting people to start antiretroviral therapy and stay the course. They’ve also been a critical partner during COVID-19. Despite having a multimonth dispensing policy, the Jamaica Government has authorized just monthly dispensing in order to avoid stock-outs. ‘Community organizations like JN+ have allayed fears and followed-up so that people continue their treatment,’ said UNAIDS Jamaica Country Director, Manoela Manova. ‘That’s why it’s important that civil society is at the decision-making table and that community workers are classified as essential workers during COVID-19.’” READ MORE

9/18/20: how covid-19 is hampering the fight against hiv (global citizen)

“Besides the lack of testing resources and financial support, COVID-19 is also impacting both the production and distribution of antiretroviral medicines due to lockdowns and border closures, potentially leading to higher prices and stock-outs, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This is happening in South Africa, where 7.7 million HIV-positive people live, the world’s largest number. More than 60% of them depend on the government’s antiretroviral program. ‘Disruptions to these medications is a public health problem,’ Vinyarak Bhardwaj, deputy director of South Africa’s Doctors Without Borders’ program, told the AP. ‘It threatens the poor and most vulnerable.’” READ MORE

9/17/20: covid-19 – Possible human rights crisis in asia as disparities expected to widen (interpress service news agency)

“[Merinda] Sebayang’s organisation [Jaringan Indonesia Positive] surveyed about 1,000 respondents. The results indicated that people living with HIV in Indonesia were finding it challenging to access their medication… While civil society could reduce the impact of the disease, it required working together with government and service providers. She pointed to several successes, like the use of smartphones for the treatment of tuberculosis patients. ‘So, I think there are many, many things that we can do. We have to become more innovative and also have to have strong collaborations with the service providers, the government and also other civil society organisations and try to be inclusive … to find a way to win over this enemy.’” READ MORE


” ‘The Covid-19 pandemic is having a serious impact on the most vulnerable and marginalised communities. Fighting two life-threatening diseases at once requires innovation, inclusion, and collaboration,’ said Amita Chebbi, Senior Director of Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network. ‘For those of us in malaria and global health, this means ensuring that we relentlessly strive to find specific synergies between malaria, pandemic response, and health systems to prevent losing ground and, instead, accelerate our progress towards elimination,’ said Dr Sarthak Das, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA).” READ MORE


“Speaking at a TB [tuberculosis] media roundtable in Abuja last week, health experts warned that there is a marked up in the level of neglect on treatment and case finding for Tuberculosis (TB), since the fight against the COVID-19 started. the focal person for TB at the Institute for Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Aderonke Agbaje, said, tuberculosis has taken a hit with human resources, funds, and materials that have been relocated and realigned to attend to COVID-19 issues. Nigeria cannot continue to be dependent on external donors when it has the capacity to shoulder such responsibility.” READ MORE


“Recognizing the crisis posed by COVID-19 — both as a health challenge in its own right, but also as a potential threat to the viability of programs for HIV, TB and malaria — the Global Fund stepped forward with its COVID-19 Response Mechanism. Given the speed and ferocity with which the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, public leaders will inevitably be tempted to divert funds from other health priorities to address COVID-19. This would be a tragic mistake. One recent modeling study found that disruption of malaria control programs due to COVID-19 could cause malaria incidence to double, potentially leading to an additional 81,000 malaria deaths in Nigeria alone. Rather than divert critical funding from essential health programs to pay for COVID-19 responses, our public leaders need to summon the will to increase investments in health programs generally.” READ MORE


“The increasing demand for resources to curb COVID-19 and the curtailment of economic activities driven by the pandemic could lead to substantial reductions in government revenues, undermining their ability to finance essential social services, including life-saving malaria vector control interventions. During the pandemic, these interventions may be hindered by reallocation of limited resources to COVID-19 response and disruptions in supply chains of IRS [indoor residual spraying] insecticides and ITN [chiefly insecticide-treated nets]. In Nigeria, the SSA country with the highest population at risk of malaria (>200 million people), only 11.1% of the 22.7 million nets in the distribution plans have been so far distributed. There could be up to a fourfold increase in malaria mortality in the region within the next year or more malaria deaths in 2020 than all malaria deaths reported globally in 2000. This would represent rolling back 20 years of progress in malaria control.” READ MORE

September 2020: 2020 goalkeepers report: covid 19: A global perspective (bill & Melinda Gates FOundation)

The 2020 Goalkeepers Report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation lays out the concern that an “expanded pool of undiagnosed [TB] infections will lead to a long-term increase in the number of TB cases around the world. As they come out of COVID, countries are going to have to make case-finding—and funding—for TB a major priority.” The report also claims that “modeling… helped many countries decide to continue bed net campaigns despite COVID-19, ensuring that, so far, the backsliding in 2020 has been less severe than it might have been.” On the topic of HIV, the report states that “disruptions to health services could mean people don’t get antiretroviral therapy (ART), which would result in more deaths and more infections (because viral loads are higher in untreated patients, they are more likely to transmit to others). So far, this worst-case scenario has not happened, although some countries are struggling to maintain services.” READ MORE


“Teenage pregnancy is an indicator that young people are engaging in unprotected sex. While not all who engage in unprotected sex get HIV, unprotected sex puts them at risk of contracting HIV. Besides placing a huge burden on already overstretched health systems due to COVID-19, an unprecedented surge in teenage pregnancies may erode the gains made in the fight against HIV.” READ MORE

9/16/20: a cataclysm of hunger, disease, and illiteracy (new york times)

“We think of Covid-19 as killing primarily the elderly around the world, but in poor countries it is more cataclysmic than that. It is killing children through malnutrition. It is leading more people to die from tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. It is forcing girls out of school and into child marriages. It is causing women to die in childbirth. It is setting back efforts to eradicate polio, fight malaria and reduce female genital mutilation. It is leading to lapses in vitamin A distribution that will cause more children to suffer blindness and die.” READ MORE

9/16/20: Opinion: COVID-19 is a turning point for infectious diseases (DEVEx)

“To protect hard-won gains and to sustain momentum, we must massively increase collaboration, resources, and innovation. We must also apply the lessons we learned from fighting HIV, TB, and malaria to maximize our effectiveness in combating the new virus.

The fights against these three diseases show how a united world, led by strong communities, can drive even the most formidable infectious diseases into retreat. The deaths they have caused have dropped by nearly half since the peak of the epidemics in countries where the Global Fund invests.” READ MORE

9/16/20: Containment of COVID-19 in Ethiopia and implications for tuberculosis care and research (infectious Diseases of poverty – ethiopia)

“COVID-19 has a significant impact on [TB] studies. The studies require screening patients with TB and testing using different diagnostic modalities. Here, patients are not coming to healthcare facilities for a fear of COVID-19, and on the other side, TB services are marginally delivered and some sites stopped their routine services. For instance, one of the EXIT-TB study sites has been selected and prepared as a COVID-19 treatment center. Some patients on ant-TB treatment, their healthcare providers, and patients’ charts and have been transferred to nearby health facilities which are not in the study. TB services could sustain with this approach but significantly affect the researches. Research funding agencies do recognize the challenges and are looking for different mechanisms for the successful completion of such projects. For instance, [European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership] vowed to accept a no-cost extension of research projects on top of all these difficulties, we believe that researchers’ commitment should not be overwhelmed by COVID-19 and that they should look for options to complete started researches successfully or initiate new researches in the era of COVID-19.” READ MORE

9/16/20: Central African Republic: In the time of COVID-19, malaria is still the biggest child killer (doctors without borders – central african republic)

“To mitigate the impact of this deadly disease and protect the community, MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders] launched a targeted campaign of preventative treatment – also known as a mass drug administration – for malaria at the beginning of the rainy season. In order to reach a maximum number of people and to make sure that the population understood the importance of this initiative, the campaign was run in three stages. First, MSF raised awareness of the campaign with the help of community leaders and by broadcasting spots on the local radio. Next, the team went door-to-door to distribute the preventative treatment. And, finally, they returned to each household to check if people had taken the treatment and to identify any side effects. By taking the medication to people in their own homes, they avoided the risk of crowds gathering at distribution sites and potentially spreading COVID-19. The MSF teams also adopted protective measures such as wearing masks and keeping a safe distance between individuals.” READ MORE


“HIV workers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all say they have seen a drop in HIV testing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some fell back into drug and alcohol abuse. Others feared the AIDS virus made them more vulnerable to the coronavirus and refused to leave their homes. Mildred Harper, who is HIV-positive, was too afraid to go to a Jackson, Mississippi, hospital in April for a blood test to check on her HIV treatment. Lee Storrow tried to get an HIV test in North Carolina in June, but staff at the clinic he contacted said they were focused on testing for COVID-19. At sites run by the Birmingham-based social services organization AIDS Alabama, testing is down roughly 75%, from about 30 tests a week before the pandemic to 30 tests a month now amid a drop in walk-in clients, said Tony Christon-Walker, the organization’s director of prevention and community partnerships.” READ MORE

9/15/20: Call for more UK aid to go on basic health services in world’s poorest countries (the telegraph – uk)

“Katie Husselby, author of the Action for Global Health report, said that the UK had a strong record in areas such as reducing child and maternal mortality and fighting the three big infectious disease killers HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. ‘The cuts to the development budget have still not been specified but we have to make the assumption that areas that were not listed [in the letter] may be at risk,’ she said. She added that the focus on Covid may mean that other areas get missed out. ‘The fear is that Covid has come to represent global health to the UK government. But that doesn’t take into account the huge indirect impact Covid will have on areas such as maternal and child health, malaria, TB and HIV. Focusing solely on the Covid response will risk a huge reversal of progress in all these other health areas,’ she said.” READ MORE

9/15/20: The Impact of COVID-19 on the TB Epidemic: A Community Perspective (TB Civil society ORGANIZATIONS)

“The impacts of COVID-19 are not being felt equally across or within countries. Prior to the pandemic, every year, around 100 million people were pushed into poverty because of healthcare-associated costs, and half the world’s population did not have access to the healthcare they needed. These already vulnerable populations are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are the same people hit hardest by TB: children, people living with HIV/AIDS, mobile populations (migrants and refugees), indigenous groups, miners, prisoners, and people who use drugs. We know that the challenges and barriers to accessing both COVID-19 and TB services disproportionately affect those who are most vulnerable and/or already marginalized. This impact is a particular concern from the perspective of human rights, stigma, and gender.” READ MORE

9/15/20: Africa’s Covid-19 slow burn: A warning against complacency (maverick citizen – South Africa)

“Boulle says given higher death rates from other illnesses – tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa – ‘it is possible that the mortality experience due to Covid-19 is less noteworthy and probably largely undocumented.’ However, while the ‘slow burn’ development of the pandemic might be less immediately devastating, it will require sustained resources over a longer period. There is also a high risk of health worker fatigue.” READ MORE

8/20/20: Impact of the societal response to COVID-19 on access to healthcare for non-COVID-19 health issues in slum communities of Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan: results of pre-COVID and COVID-19 lockdown stakeholder engagements (bmj global health)

“Pre-COVID, stakeholders described various preventive, diagnostic and treatment services, including well-used antenatal and immunisation programmes and some screening for hypertension, tuberculosis, HIV and vector borne disease. In all sites, pharmacists and patent medicine vendors were key providers of treatment and advice for minor illnesses. Mental health services and those addressing gender-based violence were perceived to be limited or unavailable. With COVID-19, a reduction in access to healthcare services was reported in all sites, including preventive services. Cost of healthcare increased while household income reduced. Residents had difficulty reaching healthcare facilities. Fear of being diagnosed with COVID-19 discouraged healthcare seeking.” READ MORE


“India, which has the world’s highest burden of tuberculosis and records around 2.6 million new cases each year, has seen around 50% drop in notifications of new cases since March when the government announced a complete nation-wide lockdown. Around 21 out of the 58 Indian tuberculosis patients said in the survey that the health facilities they normally visit were closed. Seven out of ten healthcare workers who participated in the survey reported a decrease in the number of people coming to health facilities for Tuberculosis testing.” READ MORE


“Some of the greatest challenges to health care during lockdown for people with HIV come from issues not directly related to HIV, such as mental health. “At the beginning of the lockdown, I was too depressed to do anything,” Luis, a community gardener and part-time yoga teacher in New York, told me on WhatsApp. Lockdown has also affected Luis’ primary HIV health care. “I haven’t seen my primary-care physician since about January,” Luis said. [He also states] “I am also less interested in keeping up with my HIV regimen.” Many people with HIV struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, fear, and panic on a regular basis. Lockdown has made dealing with these issues more difficult, both because the pandemic itself is inherently stressful and because mental health services, including medications, have become less available and less accessible during the pandemic.” READ MORE


HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients are the other groups that are worst affected by the pandemic, according to the report. ‘Current evidence shows that people living with HIV are at increased risk of death due to COVID-19. Before COVID-19, there were already three million ‘missing cases’ of TB: people with active TB who didn’t know it and were passing the disease to others while going untreated themselves. Now, that number will grow even larger as people either cannot go to health facilities for diagnosis or choose not to go to avoid the possibility of exposure to COVID-19,’ notes the report dubbed COVID-19, A Global Perspective.” READ MORE


“New HIV cases continue to decline in San Francisco. Last year, 166 people were diagnosed with HIV in the city, marking a 19% decrease from 2018, when 204 people were diagnosed. This is the lowest level the city has seen. According to The Bay Area Reporter, new cases dropped across population groups, including Black and Latino men, a cohort that had seen upticks in HIV rates. The good news was tempered, however, by concerns that COVID-19 and related disruptions (including health care and HIV prevention efforts) could threaten the encouraging drop in diagnoses.” READ MORE


“ ‘People are struggling with uptake because people are having less in-person doctor’s visits to see if they’re good candidates for PrEP. They’re not having the ability to talk to providers about barriers to adherence. When you can’t go out to the pharmacy, refilling that prescription is more difficult. There are employment issues, health insurance issues; hoops to jump through when you don’t have insurance,’ [says Giffin Daughtridge].“ READ MORE


“In only half a year, the coronavirus pandemic has wiped out decades of global development in everything from health to the economy. Global action to stop the pandemic would prevent illness and deaths caused by Covid-19, but there’s more at stake: The crisis sets back strides made in global poverty, HIV transmission, malnutrition, gender equality, education and many more areas. ‘in some developing countries, reversing the economic downturn may take longer because they don’t have the ability to invest as much money in their economies as rich countries, Suzman [CEO of the Gates Foundations] said.” READ MORE

9/14/20: 92% covid patients in india are asymptomatic, health minister harsh vardhan tells lok sabha (The print– India)

“[Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan] also spoke about the shift in focus from only Covid to other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, which ended up being partially neglected during the lockdown. ‘We have now moved from ‘managing travel-related cases’ to containing clusters and large outbreaks due to local transmission to wide spread of infection to urban, peri-urban and rural areas. This would require concerted effort by the government with people’s participation to prevent large scale morbidity and mortality,’ Dr Harsh Vardhan said. ’Equally crucial is to maintain the success achieved in management of reproductive maternal and child health, vaccine preventable diseases, non-communicable diseases, tuberculosis, vector borne diseases such as Kala Azar and Malaria. Hence, there is an increased thrust for managing non-Covid essential services,’ the minister said. In a communication with the states on 4 September, the Government of India had expressed apprehension that India could be looking at over [500,000] more TB cases and over [150,000] TB deaths in the next five years because of the transfer of both resources and manpower from the TB control programme to Covid.” READ MORE

9/14/20: Absent Patients Sound Alarm Bells for South African DoctoR (Bloomberg Quint – South AFRICA)

“Tuberculosis hospitals have isolation wards that can be adapted easily for Covid-19 patients, so it made sense. Still, the move resulted in most patients being directed to other hospitals that are at least an hour-and-a-half drive away, and widespread poverty meant that many people opted to go home instead. The damage that’s done in the community will only become clear in a few months’ time, according to {Dr Marthinus] Du Plessis. ‘After a few months you realize that a lot of the familiar faces aren’t there anymore,’ he said. ‘You make the assumption that a lot of these people passed away at home because they never made it to a hospital. To send sick people home to accommodate often asymptomatic Covid-19 patients makes no sense.’” READ MORE

9/14/20: How COVID-19 Is Indirectly Killing Mothers and Babies (spiegel international – denmark)

“ ‘Many vaccinations and checkups, both before and after giving birth, are omitted completely,’ says Rebekka Frick. ‘That will have horrific consequences and put great strain on health systems for some time to come.’ Whether measles, tuberculosis or malaria, coronavirus threatens to significantly hamstring efforts to combat other life-threatening diseases around the world. Medical professionals and NGOs are concerned that millions will die in the coming months and years not from of the coronavirus, but from its consequences – or from other, treatable diseases, because, for example, they avoid going to the doctor for a simple vaccination.” READ MORE

9/11/20: ‘Healthcare System In Rural India Is A Cause Of Concern,’ Says Public Healthcare Expert Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (BANEGA SWASTH – INDIA )

“’What about routine immunisation? What about maternal and child health? What happens to Tuberculosis? What happens to people with malaria or cancer or Diabetes? By only focusing on COVID-19, we haven’t done enough to resume normal healthcare services so that mortality is lowered because the death rate in India is not just COVID-19. Because people are dying from untreated Diabetes or untreated TB. We must get a handle on it and we must resume routine health services in every place, rural and urban’ [Dr Madhukar Pai, Epidemiologist, Director of The McGill International TB Centre].” READ MORE

9/11/20: 2 died and a total of 3,099 malaria cases have been reported across Mumbai (afternoon voice – INDia )

“’Due to the lockdown, all the migrant workers from the Metro construction sites have gone back. So, no one has cleaned the accumulated stagnant water which has turned into breeding grounds for mosquitoes,’ [Dr. Virendra Mohite, medical officer] said. Rajan Naringrekar, chief of [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation]’s insecticide department explained that during monsoon, water gets inside the houses at [Bombay Development Department (BMC)] Chawl in G-South. As a large number of people have left the city due to the pandemic, the rainwater lies stagnant, thereby making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes. ‘We can’t forcefully enter anyone’s house for fumigation. As a result, people living in the surrounding areas are getting malaria,’ he said.” READ MORE

9/11/20: pandemic a boon for digital health services (The star – kenya )

“Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya, close to 20,000 Kenyans have missed hospital visits for surgeries, according to the Ministry of Health. Thousands more shunned health facilities for treatment of other diseases. Health CAS Rashid Aman says malaria is the most affected. He says the number of patients seeking treatment for malaria has decreased by two thirds compared to a similar period last year.” READ MORE

9/10/20: India’s Health ‘Time Bomb’ Keeps Ticking, and It’s Not Covid-19 (BLOOMberg – India )

“More than 65 million people in India live in densely packed and poorly ventilated slums like Dharavi in Mumbai, one of the biggest in Asia, which has long struggled with tuberculosis before it became a coronavirus hotspot. The fact that both TB and Covid-19 have a significant overlap in symptoms — breathlessness, cough, fever — make these areas critical to controlling both diseases. The strict stay-at-home orders the country enforced at the end of March shut down India’s giant tuberculosis program for almost three months. In April, one million fewer received the BCG vaccine that prevents severe tuberculosis, government data shows. ‘There should’ve been bi-directional screening from the beginning, because in checking for one you may be missing the other,’ said Chapal Mehra, a public health specialist and author of ‘Tuberculosis – India’s Ticking Time Bomb.’” READ MORE

9/10/20: governments need $70m to fill malariA financing gap (The new times – rwanda )

“[Dr. Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Head of the Malaria and other Parasitic Infections Unit at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre] said that the ongoing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic had not derailed the government’s dedication to fighting malaria. ‘Our efforts to fight malaria have actually increased, focusing mostly on protective measures. By the time Covid-19 got to Rwanda, we had already started our program to distribute treated mosquito nets all over the country and we haven’t stopped,’ he said.” READ MORE

9/10/20: What’s the most dangerous disease? Hint: It’s not novel coronavirus (China global televison network )

“As it was calculated by influential non-government organization Stop TB Partnership in collaboration with Imperial College, Avenir Health, Johns Hopkins University, and the United States Agency For International Development, a three-month lockdown in different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over 10 months could result in an additional 6.3 million tuberculosis cases and additional 1.4 million deaths from it. It now seems likely that the indicated time frames will last much longer. The pandemic is also shrinking the supply of diagnostic tests and drugs against tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS, and other killers as pharmaceutical companies turn to make more expensive medicines to detect and fight the coronavirus.” READ MORE

9/10/20: mozambique situation report, 10 September 2020 (relief web – mozambique)

“Prior to COVID-19, multiple disease outbreaks—including cholera and malaria—were already stretching Mozambique’s weak health systems and 94 health centres were damaged during the cyclones. In Cabo Delgado, over 1,500 cumulative cases of cholera and 25 cumulative deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak in January 2020 until the end of July. Critical services—such as sexual and reproductive health care, immunization activities and continuity of care for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and cholera—are expected to be disrupted as resources shift to the COVID-19 response, potentially increasing maternal and infant deaths.” READ MORE


“Deaths from HIV, TB and Malaria could almost double in 12 Months unless urgent action is taken. Stop TB Partnership, Nigeria, stakeholders noted that Nigeria has a huge gap of about 60 per cent of the required funding for TB and that the bulk of the funding was still donor dependent. While it has been reiterated that the Nigerian government cannot tackle the huge burden posed by TB alone, stakeholders said collective effort at both national and state levels to fund TB case management in Nigeria, would go a long way. ‘We need commitment across all levels of people, those who work in and outside the health sector. There is a need for us to remember that we have other deadly diseases that are threatening us and can be further enabled by COVID. We need to put in place measures to fund and control diseases of public health significance, like HIV, Malaria, and TB, otherwise, there could be a post-COVID-19 health crisis in Nigeria,’ [The Country Director of Health Policy Plus, Frances Illika] added.” READ MORE


“Dr Adebola Lawanson, National Coordinator, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, said the COVID-19 outbreak in the country increased TB morbidity and mortality, and also affected TB case finding. She said the pandemic also reinforced stigma for sufferers, increased transmission of TB, and affected access to drugs for patients and health facilities. Frances Ilika Country Director, Health Policy Plus (HP+), said there was a need for increased domestic funding for TB to avoid secondary crises, increased private sector investment in TB control as well as accountability on funding.” READ MORE

9/9/20: HIV and COVID-19: a unique moment in time to learn, leverage and build resilient systems for health (UNAIDS)

“’COVID-19 has caused significant loss of life in many communities, but notably in those where inequities make people more vulnerable to ill health. Leveraging of the HIV infrastructure and workforce has helped to mitigate what might have been a far worse situation,’ said José M. Zuniga, President/Chief Executive Officer of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care and co-organizer of the Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 event with UNAIDS. ‘However, with current HIV spending substantially off-track, the world urgently needs to increase investments in the responses to both HIV and COVID-19 and not siphon off one to respond to the other.’” READ MORE

9/9/20: COVID-19 could reverse decades of progress toward eliminating preventable child deaths, agencies warn (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION)

“Over the past 30 years, health services to prevent or treat causes of child death such as preterm, low birthweight, complications during birth, neonatal sepsis, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, as well as vaccination, have played a large role in saving millions of lives. Now countries worldwide are experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services, such as health checkups, vaccinations and prenatal and post-natal care, due to resource constraints and a general uneasiness with using health services due to a fear of getting COVID-19” READ MORE

9/8/20: tuberculosis – experts call for more case finding amidst covid-19 crisis (premium times – NIGERIA)

“The National Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Adebola Lawanson, noted that there has not been sufficient progress made in TB case finding due to COVID-19. She said that TB, like other diseases, has been worst hit during this period due to resource relocation and realignment for COVID-19. She explained that the lack of access to health facilities during the lockdown period contributed to the increase in TB cases in the country. ‘There is an increase in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis as the impact of COVID-19 affected health facilities, monitoring and drug supervision for TB patients, while health care workers were not willing to carry out TB case finding.’” READ MORE

9/8/20: Providing HIV treatment to people living with HIV stranded in foreign countries in Middle East and North Africa region during the COVID-19 pandemic (UNAIDS)

“Due to COVID-19 people living with HIV around the world, including the Middle East and North Africa region, are encountering difficulties to access HIV treatment, especially when they are unexpectedly stranded in a foreign country due to travel restrictions. ‘I came to Egypt on 1 March on a business trip and my plan was to leave on 4 April. Due to the COVID-19 and the closing of the airports, I had to extend my stay in Egypt. Unfortunately, my medication is not available in Egypt,’ said Hammad.” READ MORE

9/8/20: covid patients in noida now battle dengue, malaria (times of india)

“THE CMO [Contract Manufacturing Organization] has also issued instructions that strict compliance of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) have to be followed with regard to any data release on the diseases. ‘All COVID positive patients at private hospitals who are infected with any of the vector-borne disease should be treated according to the guidelines, including use of mosquito nets and in a separate area of the hospital so as to prevent spread of infection. Also, only the CMO and the district magistrate is authorized to declare the number of cases of dengue and malaria,’ said Dr Deepak Ohri, CMO, GB Nagar. The district malaria officer (DMO) Dr Rajesh Sharma said that the number of dengue and malaria cases are less so far. ‘The numbers are far less than last year mostly because of the pandemic and fear of infection among the people,’ he added.’” READ MORE

9/8/20: south mumbai reports 75 per cent of total malaria cases in city (The free press journal – India)

“’In areas like Dhobi Ghat the regular operations are stalled now. Due to this water bodies at these places have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. As most of the people have gone back to their hometowns, the BMC is unable to fumigate such areas completely,’ said local corporator Samadhan Sarvankar. BMC [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation] leader of opposition and Congress corporator, Ravi Raja suggested that since the cases of malaria and dengue are on the rise amid the pandemic outbreak, the civic body needs to form categorised [outpatient departments] in its hospitals. ‘Due to fear of Covid-19, people are becoming apprehensive about getting themselves admitted in the hospitals. The BMC can make separate wards for malaria and dengue treatment which will make the treatment process more systematic” Raja told [The Free Press Journal].’” READ MORE


“Malaria cases this year increased by 440.2% compared to 2841 cases recorded in 2019 and reduced when compared to 2018 cases of 31,000, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health availed. “The COVID 19 regulations have slowed down the implementation of program activities due to restriction on people movement, gatherings of more than 10 people and delayed delivery of antimalarial commodities, resulting in some program activities being canceled,” the ministry concluded. The National Vector-borne Diseases Control Programme from the health ministry which monitors the weekly malaria situation in the country shows that this year alone 12,507 malaria cases where recorded, while 40 deaths occurred.” READ MORE


“As the city witnesses a rise in Covid-19 cases, it is also reporting an increase in malaria cases. Data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) shows that the five wards in south Mumbai — G South, E, F South, G North and D — account for 2,157 of the total 3,099 malaria cases. Of the five wards with the most malaria cases, G-south (Lower Parel, Worli and Elphinstone) has reported the maximum number of cases, with 1,055 patients till August 31. E ward (Mumbai Central, Byculla, Kamathipura) recorded 478 malaria cases while the count in F South (Parel) was 267 cases. G North (Dadar, Mahim and Dharavi), which has recorded the third-highest number of Covid-19 cases (8,748), reported 233 malaria cases. D ward (Grant Road) has 124 cases.” READ MORE


“The STOP TB partnership Nigeria is a multi-stakeholder partnership dedicated to the cause of ending scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria has registered its frustrations with the unwillingness of TB carriers to report themselves to health care facilities for examination and treatment. ‘Tuberculosis has really taken a hit in this regard with human resources, funds, and materials that have been relocated and realigned to attend to COVID-19 issues. We have had the GeneXpert machines, HIV laboratories, being redeployed to support the COVID-19 response’ [the focal person for TB at the Institute for Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Aderonke Agbaje, states].” READ MORE


“Precarious health systems are not able to withstand shocks such as disease outbreaks, evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a function of a combination of funding shortages, suboptimal resource allocation and corruption. The people, institutions and resources needed to deliver health related services are only performing at 49% of their potential capacity. About 80% of Africans in the middle-income bracket and below rely on public health facilities. Leading killers on the continent, often described as the “big three” include malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids. About 50% of under-five deaths in Africa are caused by pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Undetected TB and HIV will exacerbate the Covid-19 death count.” READ MORE

9/6/20: Deputy President David Mabuza: ‘Our plans to fix Eskom are working’ (biz news – South Africa)

“’By offering HIV self-screening at COVID-19 screening sites, the Department of Health is able to reach people who would otherwise be missed by their standard HIV programmes.

Community health workers across the country, are screening for the coronavirus whilst conducting their normal door-to-door HIV and TB monitoring work, such as ensuring that patients are taking their antiretroviral medicines. Our Government and its partner donors, including the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Response and the United Nations Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, are leveraging on existing resources in order to assist in the COVID-19 response. This is done while ensuring that HIV and TB services remain accessible to those who need them. The HIV and TB programmes have integrated HIV testing and TB screening into the COVID-19 response’ [David Mabuza, Deputy President of South Africa; Deputy President of the African National Congress].” READ MORE


“About 1.6-million HIV tests were conducted in March. In April that number dipped to just fewer than 690 000 tests, just after the lockdown was instituted at the end of the previous month.

Additionally, more than twice as many people tested for HIV in April last year compared to this year, showing one of the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on access to healthcare services. HIV testing services in public clinics and hospitals were not shut down during lockdown, because these facilities were considered essential services. However, the restrictions of movement resulted in a decrease in HIV testing, because community testing stopped.” READ MORE

9/4/20: We should prioritize tb efforts during this time of covid-19 (NATION – KENYA)

“Adherence to a regular treatment schedule is essential to curing TB. Patients who do not have consistent access to the medicines and support needed to ensure adherence during the COVID-19 pandemic may not be cured and may develop TB drug-resistance, which is more difficult to treat and would allow for the continued spread of TB. All of these developments make it clear that it is more important than ever to increase funding to combat TB. The congressional appropriations subcommittees for foreign aid have shown strong bipartisan support for global health, providing significant funding for programs fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria. However, TB still remains among the most underfunded of our major disease programs, even though it now kills more people than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.” READ MORE


“[Deaths] are rising, and some are from COVID-19, but many more result from people unable to afford transportation to the hospital as a result of worsening economic conditions, or delaying treatment until it’s too late. That includes people with minor problems—like my patient with a simple urinary tract infection who was afraid to come to the hospital—and those seeking treatment for serious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).” READ MORE


“To ensure that tuberculosis patients remain safe at home during the lockdown, the Tamil Nadu [TN] government helped deliver vital drugs to over 52,000 affected people at their doorsteps. In addition to providing them with medicines, the government has been continuously monitoring their health condition, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami [EPS] said on Thursday. Taking to Twitter, EPS said the government had provided the medicines throughout the treatment period for 52,489 TB patients. Health Minister C Vijayabaskar tweeted, ‘TN Health has done a commendable job in taking care of TB Pts across the state during Covid. [Anti-tubercular treatment (ATT)] drugs were stocked & distributed promptly for 52,489 TB pts since March’20.’” READ MORE


“Doctors said that cases of malaria and dengue have increased because of the incessant rainfall that has lashed Mumbai in August. ‘It is due to the rainfall in August that the mosquito bred diseases have risen. I am getting average three cases of Malaria in two days,’ said Dr. Sudhir Awasthi, a medical practitioner based in Andheri and Bandra. ‘With COVID-19 still there, people are afraid to get themselves to hospital, so instead of shutting the COVID care facilities, if the [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)] can turn them into facilities for treating those with Malaria and Dengue, it can be of great help for us,’ said the doctor.’” READ MORE


“‘By offering HIV self-screening at COVID-19 screening sites, the Department of Health is able to reach people who would otherwise be missed by their standard HIV programmes. ‘Community health workers across the country are screening for the coronavirus whilst conducting their normal door-to-door HIV and TB monitoring work, such as ensuring that patients are taking their antiretroviral medicines,’ [David Mabuza, Deputy President of South Africa and Deputy President of the African National Congress] said on Thursday.” READ MORE


“‘This pandemic has greatly increased the dangers faced by people living with and affected by HIV. In the last few months they have had to deal with disruptions to HIV treatment and prevention services, over-burdened health systems, not being able to feed their families, and an abuse of rights, while living with an increased fear about their vulnerability to COVID-19.’ [Tim Martineau, Deputy Executive Director at Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS]” READ MORE


“‘HIV treatment will fail if people don’t have food—healthy food. The fact that Guyana has been able to respond immediately to alleviate food security challenges and thus protect the well-being of people living with HIV right from the outset of the humanitarian crisis demonstrates the value of making psychosocial support investments integral to our regular treatment programme,’ [Michel de Groulard, UNAIDS Country Director for Guyana and Suriname] said. ‘It makes countries and communities more resilient, more agile and better prepared to respond to crises.’” READ MORE


“ ‘Increased awareness on cleanliness, hygiene, mosquito related information such as water storage helped in controlling vector-borne diseases,’ said [Rajesh] Sharma. He added that ‘earlier people would not pay attention to community information through radio, leaflets, etc., but during lockdown, they paid attention to those. Also, cleaning homes and surroundings was a means to kill time helped.’ The authorities are crediting the Dhanvantri Raths [a mobile van that offers health services] for the positive effect as they started covering vector-borne diseases apart from Covid-19.” READ MORE


“The knock-on effects are being felt sharply in Cameroon today: remittances from abroad have dramatically fallen; the distribution of malaria-preventing mosquito nets to rural communities has slowed; informal sector livelihoods have been choked by the lockdown; health serves, already fragile, are overstretched and less effective. The restrictions that the government imposed in March have now eased, but the work of civil society dealing with the fallout from COVID-19 is only just beginning.” READ MORE

9/2/20: with all eyes on covid-19, malaria cases in mumbai rose in august: BMC data (Hindustan Times – India)

“Even as civic officials are struggling to control the spread of Covid-19 cases, mosquito-borne malaria is now posing another challenge, with a rise in the number of cases to 1,137 in August, compared to 824 in August 2019. Most cases are being reported from G-South (Worli, Lower Parel, Prabhadevi), G-North (Dharavi, Dadar), M-East (Chembur) and E (Byculla) wards, which have also reported a large number of Covid-19 cases. Last month, for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recorded two deaths, where the duo was suffering from a combination of malaria and the coronavirus infection. These two deaths – from G-North and M-East civic wards, which were once hot spots for Covid-19 infection – broke the city’s decade-long record of zero fatalities due to malaria.” READ MORE

9/2/20: COVID-19 pushing other priorities aside (The citizen – Tanzania)

“Since the coronavirus swept the world the battles against tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/Aids have been slowed down, partly because of peoples’ worries about visiting health clinics, many of which have been closed for fear of contagion. It’s estimated that about 80 percent of programs have been disrupted. One in four people being treated for HIV have reported problems in getting hold of their medications. In India diagnosis of TB cases has dropped by nearly 75 percent. In country after country the coronavirus has resulted in sharp drops in diagnosing TB: a 70 percent decline in Indonesia, 50 percent in Mozambique and South Africa and 20 percent in China.” READ MORE

9/2/20: South sudan: Malaria Leaves 100 dead in South Sudan (the East African – South Sudan)

“‘Malaria accounts for 42 per cent of [outpatient department] consultations representing a 45 per cent increase from week 27 of June, 2020,’ [Dr. Wamala Joseph Francis, WHO’S Country Preparedness and International Health Regulation Officer] said. ‘This proportion may be affected by the current triage of patients due to Covid-19. ARI proportional morbidity in 2020 is lower compared to the corresponding period of 2019.’ According to [a joint report from South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and WHO], cases of malaria are mainly attributed to the continued flooding in [South Sudan] due to heavy rains.” READ MORE 

9/1/20: South Africa: Back-to-school in the time of covid-19 Poses Major Challenges for south african teachers (Radio France Internationale – South Africa)

“ ‘At Ekukhanyeni Special needs school in the Pietermaritzburg area of KwaZulu-Natal Province, the attendance is even lower–at about 20 percent since the school opened last week,’ says teacher Thembi Nesemare. ‘The majority of children, although they have disabilities, some have underlying conditions, too, like HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and chronic chest infections. That’s why they haven’t brought those students to school,’ she says.” READ MORE


“Since cases first emerged in Kenya in March, the country’s two main refugee camps, Kakuma and Dadaab, have been largely sealed off. Health-care staff, already dealing with seasonal malaria and cholera outbreaks, have worked to educate residents about the coronavirus, prepare isolation areas and bolster stockpiles of protective gear.” READ MORE


“Results from a recent study out of South Carolina, which examined how its HIV service care continuum was affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (COVID-19), show that more than a quarter (26%) of HIV clinics had to shut their doors completely and over half (56%) experienced partial service interruptions, reports the study in AIDS and Behavior.” READ MORE

August 2020: TB Research Investments Provide Returns in Combating Both TB and COVID-19 (Treatment action group policy brief)

“New diagnostic, treatment, and prevention tools for TB are urgently needed to put the world on track to meet the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals to end the TB epidemic by 2030.3 However, COVID-19 and responses to it are complicating and disrupting critical TB research efforts underway. Sustained and expanded investment in TB R&D is urgently needed to fortify TB research efforts against COVID-19–related complications and disruptions and to deliver game-changing new public health tools to aid the fight against TB.” READ MORE


“Most countries reported that many routine and elective services had been suspended, while critical care — such as cancer screening and treatment and HIV therapy — had seen high-risk interruptions in low-income nations. 76% of countries reported reductions in outpatient care attendance due to lower demand and other factors such as lockdowns and financial difficulties. Countries also reported disruptions in malaria diagnosis and treatment (46%), tuberculosis case detection and treatment (42%) and antiretroviral treatment (32%). WHO [World Health Organization] said that countries on average experienced disruptions in 50% of a set of 25 tracer services.” READ MORE


“The situation is even less clear in Somalia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where raging insurgencies mean mass testing is impossible and weak health-care systems are already struggling to contain other medical emergencies including HIV/AIDS, measles and Ebola. The chances of surviving coronavirus for patients with pre-existing medical conditions are significantly lower, and many families in Zambia have talked of losing close relatives already sickened by diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS.” READ MORE


“Shutdowns because of the pandemic cut off outreach that health departments and organizations like HealthRight use to identify HIV cases and connect patients to care. The added stress of COVID-19 response also meant that resources in some cases are spread too thin to adequately confront other health issues still facing communities.” READ MORE


“The Covid-19 pandemic may impede global tuberculosis elimination goals. In Jiangsu Province, China, tuberculosis notifications dropped 52% in 2020 compared to 2015–2019. Treatment completion and screening for drug resistance decreased continuously in 2020. Urgent attention must be paid to tuberculosis control efforts during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.” READ MORE


“During the early response to COVID-19 UNAIDS received numerous reports of interruptions to HIV services and disturbing human violations against vulnerable and marginalized populations. The experience of the response to HIV has proved that violations of human rights during a pandemic undermine trust, harm individuals, and set back public health responses. HIV prevention and treatment services were disrupted in 10 of the 16 countries reviewed. Some countries reported reductions in medicine collections of up to 20% in some areas. There were multiple reports of people living with HIV not having enough antiretroviral medicine for a lockdown of more than 60 days as well as reports of people having abandoned their HIV treatment due to a lack of food.” READ MORE


“Children have made many sacrifices because of the country’s COVID-19 response. The overlap between the HIV and COVID-19 epidemics in countries like South Africa is of particular concern due to great risks to the hard-won milestones in controlling the HIV epidemic. An estimated 43,000 children under five died in South Africa in 2018 alone, and of these, 12,717 were newborns. Some of the key drivers of child deaths were underlying malnutrition, HIV and TB [Tuberculosis].” READ MORE


“[Dr Jennifer Furin, a multidrug-resistant TB specialist working with Doctors without Borders (MSF)] says the number of people presenting at clinics continues to be low, partly due to people being told to avoid healthcare facilities during the pandemic, but also as a result of clinic closures or under-staffing at facilities. Adding to this, she says TB [Tuberculosis] testing is not routinely offered. In May, Ndjeka told Spotlight that the department had noted a sharp drop in TB cases in April. New figures released last week indicate that case numbers have fallen even further since then. The number of new cases detected in June this year was only 284, compared to 753 in June last year (a decrease of over 60%).” READ MORE


“According to the latest health department figures, Nelson Mandela Bay had 22,245 cases of Covid-19. ‘After the advent of Covid-19, HIV and other services were no longer a priority at our facilities. We look at the number of patients with TB – about 1,700 – that were lost to follow-up,’ [Treatment Action Campaign’s Anel Yawa] said. Yawa said many patients with HIV and TB have not received any medical care for months: ‘We received reports that some people were only getting HIV treatment for five days. Others didn’t receive any medication and had to go to their support groups to ask if anybody was willing to share their pills.’ ” READ MORE


“Currently, approximately 3.7 million pregnant women, children and adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa require uninterrupted access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART). Covid-19 control measures – including lockdowns and travel restrictions – coupled with fear, could result in reductions in access to health services, particularly for mothers and children. This would mean fewer pregnant women receiving HIV services necessary to keep them healthy and further limiting access to timely early infant HIV diagnosis and treatment. READ MORE


“Mid-year, globally, there had been over 15 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 with more than 600,000 deaths. This spike in cases will no doubt worsen the current burden on Africa’s already ailing public health systems, and in particular, will limit the attention on all other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. READ MORE


“People living with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) are being significantly impacted by COVID-19. Modelling has estimated the potential catastrophic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with increases of up to 10%, 20% and 36% projected deaths for HIV, TB and malaria patients, respectively, over the next five years.” READ MORE

8/25/20: Covid-19 sets back malaria, HIV and tuberculosis fight by years (Diario AS – Spain)

“Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Program, painted a stark picture of the situation. ‘Between 50 percent and 75 percent of tuberculosis programs and treatments globally have been interrupted up to now, depending on the country and the levels of hospital care, supplies and tests. Right now, $3 billion is needed to return to the pre-COVID situation, but that figure could double or triple if the trend continues in this way. It’s very worrying.’” READ MORE

8/25/20 KNCV predicts rise in TB related deaths (the sun – nigeria)

“[Dr. Mustapha Gidado, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation Executive Director] observed that there’s worsening performance in TB related programs across the world, with scary prediction that achievements made in the last five years may have been eroded because of the obvious disruption in TB programs. Nevertheless, Dr. Gidado…disclosed that a ‘Catch Up’ TB program has been designed in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure a possible recovery of what must have been lost due to COVID-19.” READ MORE

8/24/20: Covid-19 research in Europe needs coordination, but we must not stop European research investments in poverty related diseases (the british medical journal)

“We must remain aware of the danger of an excess of COVID-19 exceptionalism in the planning of future research funding that would come at the expense of other urgent global health needs. tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV have well documented research needs and any redirection of funding from these poverty-related diseases to COVID-19 would be highly deleterious to global public health.” READ MORE

8/24/20 Community health workers: The key to home-based Covid care? (the star – kenya)

“‘I didn’t suspect corona (COVID-19) because I had neither a fever nor cough,’ Bonnie Musambi, a KBC journalist, says. He took the COVID-19 test offered at his workplace and continued to self-medicate for what he thought was a bout of malaria. ‘Three days later when they called and told me I had tested positive for COVID-19.’” READ MORE

8/24/20 The Science Behind Saliva-Based Rapid Diagnostic Testing (technology networks)

“Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that the availability of easy-to-use rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria will be critical. Both malaria and COVID-19 can present with the symptom of fever – this not only causes confusion but could be life-threating should malaria be mistaken for COVID-19. Saliva-based RDTs that could be administered by parents at home could not only help to catch cases of malaria but also help to manage the risk of transmission of COVID-19, as a health professional would not have to go to a patient’s home for the purpose of diagnosing possible malaria cases.” READ MORE

8/24/20: How Covid-19’s Spread Could Drive an Increase in Malaria Deaths (smithsonian magazine)

“Restrictions on travel and crowds, along with a lack of personal protective equipment, have reduced the ability of health workers to distribute treated bed nets [to curb the spread of malaria]. On top of that, several companies that produce malaria rapid diagnostic tests have announced their intention to pivot to COVID-19 tests, which retail for higher. A shortage of malaria rapid diagnostic tests poses a number of potential risks, says Peter Olumese, a medical officer with WHO’s global malaria program: ‘If patients are presumptively diagnosed with malaria, they’ll be prescribed medications they may not need, which contributes both to the problem of drug resistance, and also depletes the already limited supply of drugs.’” READ MORE

8/22/20: Response to a new epidemic must not displace responses to older ones (business day – south africa)

“A recent UNAIDS report shows that lockdowns and other COVID-19-related restrictive measures have affected both the transport of goods across the value chain of production and the distribution of HIV medicines. Barriers to the supply chain and a forecasted economic shock indicate a possible fluctuation in the availability of antiretroviral medicines and a possible increase in cost. Manufacturers are facing logistics issues that put people living with HIV and people at higher risk of HIV infection at risk of life-threatening disruptions to health and HIV services.” READ MORE

8/21/20: An Urgent Plea from a South African Health Worker Fighting COVID-19 And TB (the global fund)

“Nombasa and her husband, Vuyisa Dumile, were infected with HIV more than a decade ago. Then came TB, which affected both. In the last few years though, the two were doing well, working and managing HIV through antiretroviral therapy – until COVID-19 arrived. Both were infected with [coronavirus]. And then their children caught it, too. Nombasa says she thinks she got COVID-19 first, most likely from her job, where she spends her days providing treatment support to people ill with TB. …Nombasa and her family have already paid a heavy price. She has an urgent appeal to governments and global health partners to help community health workers do their work. ‘Health workers need training and more PPE to protect themselves and their families.’” READ MORE

8/21/20 Covid- 19 Coalition Launches $100 Million PPE Initiative for Africa’s Community Health Workers (the herald – zimbabwe)

“The COVID-19 Action Fund for Africa (CAFA) is working in partnership with ministries of health to meet the essential PPE needs (including surgical masks, gloves, eye protection and more) of up to one million community health workers serving over 400 million people during the COVID-19 pandemic. ​Community health workers contribute to significant improvements in health priority areas​ such as reducing child undernutrition, improving maternal and child health, expanding access to family planning services, and contributing to infectious disease control for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis.” READ MORE


“COVID-19 has showcased community resilience and innovation, across the [Sub-Saharan Africa] region, for example, networks of people living with HIV are doing home deliveries of antiretroviral medication so that their peers can avoid health facilities and protect themselves from COVID-19 infection.” READ MORE


“Since 1981, approximately 33 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses, including approximately 700,000 in 2019. About 38 million people worldwide currently are infected with HIV. People living with HIV may be at a greater risk of becoming infected by the novel coronavirus. After all, a hallmark of HIV/AIDS is a decreased functioning of the immune system and an increased risk of opportunistic infections.” READ MORE

8/20/20: Two UK studies find that HIV infection may be a risk factor for dying from COVID-19 (AIDS MAP)

“People with HIV had a 130% raised risk (i.e. 2.3 times the risk) of dying from COVID-19 compared with the general population. …The presence of at least one co-morbidity [among people living with HIV] raised the risk of death.” READ MORE

8/20/20: Killer # 2: Disrupted health services during COVID-19 (the world bank)

“In countries where health systems already struggle to meet their population’s needs, the stress of COVID-19 is likely to disrupt essential health services —from ensuring women can safely deliver babies, access family planning services, and immunize their children; to maintaining lifesaving treatments for malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases, and childhood pneumonia.” READ MORE

8/20/20: malaria treatment struggles amid covid-19 (borgen project)

“The CDC created a set of key considerations for continuing essential malaria prevention while safeguarding against the COVID-19 pandemic. First, a representative from the National Malaria Control Program should be considered for membership on the country’s National COVID-19 Incident Management Team. Second, continued access for insecticide-treated nets for populations at risk should be put in place. Third, physical distancing during spray treatments should be imposed. Lastly, the continuance of essential routine entomological monitoring activities while abiding by social distancing and wearing protective gear.” READ MORE

8/19/20: Governance and Social Contract within a changing International Context: Making Universal Healthcare, universal (world health organization)

“Preparedness has paid off. Africa’s experience responding to diseases like malaria, cholera and tuberculosis means that many countries already have the expertise, labs, and networks of community health workers that are critical to contain the pandemic.” READ MORE

8/19/20: How business can fight COVID-19 in poor communities (the sun – nigeria)

“Widespread malnutrition, anemia, malaria and tuberculosis in African nations may result in a higher incidence of severe forms of COVID-19 in younger patients. These immunity-suppressing conditions combine with weak public health infrastructure and the exodus of doctors to the West to create a perilous situation.” READ MORE

8/18/20: In the shadow of Covid-19, silent killers re-emerge (cnn)

“While working for Red Cross Red Crescent in South Africa, I witnessed a resurgence in TB as the nation battled with the deadly H1N1 flu pandemic. The fight against COVID-19 is critical, but experience and history show that we also need to continue tackling other dangerous infectious diseases that we have been battling for generations. If we concede the ground, we have made with those diseases over recent decades we face an even greater global health crisis.” READ MORE

8/18/20: Coronavirus morning update: All the new rules for Level 2, and president urges caution (health 24 – south africa)

“The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving an indelible impact on the modern world, changing it forever, including healthcare systems. While the disease is directly destroying many lives, it’s also systematically erasing years of progress made in the fight against other communicable diseases – specifically tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. Epidemics in their own right, disruptions to medication, the halting of prevention programs and a fear of seeking medical care due to the coronavirus have severely impacted many countries’ – including South Africa’s – ability to sustain those fights.” READ MORE

8/18/20: How communities can help stop COVID-19 (oxford university press)

“…COVID will dislocate health systems and could double the number of deaths from [AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria] within twelve months unless urgent action is taken.” READ MORE

8/17/20: COVID-19 in Latin America: what do the figures reveal? And what not? (the costa rica news)

“Countries like Peru, which took early containment and mitigation measures, for example, have also been affected by their high rate of the informal economy, large groups of vulnerable populations, and high rates of other diseases such as tuberculosis and malnutrition. In our region, ‘the most inequitable in the world,’ COVID-19 is not the only health challenge, Dr. Marcos Espinal, director of the Department of Communicable Diseases of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) insists: ‘We have tuberculosis, malaria, and dengue. We are going to have influenza coming into the southern hemisphere.’” READ MORE

8/17/20: bill gates: As COVID-19 spreads, don’t lose track of malaria (gates notes)

“…Some existing malaria programs are also helping to control COVID-19. For example, emergency operations centers that track outbreaks of malaria in Africa are now being used to monitor the spread of COVID-19. By tracking the shape and movement of the pandemic across countries and regions, health officials are also able to deepen their understanding of health conditions in communities that will, in turn, help improve their responses to malaria in those areas.” READ MORE

8/17/20: The Human Cost of the Pandemic May Dwarf Its Death Toll (new york magazine)

“According to one estimate recently showcased in Nature, the global excess death toll just from TB, AIDS, and malaria, which typically kill 2.4 million annually, could almost double over the next year in a worst-case scenario in which the coronavirus pandemic interferes with the distribution of preventative tools like bed nets, the diagnosis of new cases, and the treatment of those who do fall sick.” READ MORE

8/17/20: ‘What if I die?’: Coronavirus hits India’s tuberculosis care (reuters)

“‘People are not coming to the public health facilities because there is deep stigma attached to COVID-19 and TB – it’s like a double stigma,” said Subrat Mohanty, head of Project Axshya, a civil society initiative that supports the government’s TB program to detect and diagnose cases. He said the project…stopped between April and June, so there were no door-to-door case findings, sputum tests or health camps. With lack of access to healthcare, harsh side effects of a cocktail of drugs and isolation, patients can develop mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Basically, motivation to continue medication becomes zero.” READ MORE

8/17/20: Health infrastructure in Telangana gets a fillip due to Covid-19 (telangana today – india)

“The COVID-19 outbreak has clearly highlighted the need to strengthen the Infectious Diseases departments in all government teaching hospitals in the State [of Telangana]. Already, efforts are on to recruit specialty doctors in the fields of Tuberculosis (TB) and Pulmonary Diseases, which largely deal with infectious diseases. Such dedicated departments focus on management of infectious diseases caused by weak immunity of the human body. Apart from TB, other infectious diseases include HIV, tropical diseases like malaria, dengue.” READ MORE

8/17/20: The forgotten killers: Covid-19 destroying gains made in the fight against malaria, TB (health 24 – South africa)

“The [Southern Africa] region has an ongoing initiative – the SADC Elimination 8 – which aims to eradicate malaria with its member countries, including South Africa. Its goal was to eliminate malaria completely in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Eswatini by this year, but these countries saw an incline in cases after 2017, reversed again in 2018, according to its latest report. Six of the eight [countries] have already reported increases in malaria cases this year, and the first quarter report of the year stated that lockdowns have limited or even prevented surveillance teams’ ability to investigate and detect malaria cases.” READ MORE

8/16/20: the plight of patients as coronavirus soars (daily news – zimbabwe)

“‘[Zimbabwe’s] health response must prevent stigma and discrimination. It should promote health seeking behavior instead of turning away patients due to non-availability of COVID-19 test results as this may erode the gains achieved over the years in various health programs such as HIV and AIDS, TB, malaria, and sexual reproductive health programs,’ [Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai] Rusike said.” READ MORE

8/15/20: Prevention of malaria shouldn’t stall due to Covid (daily monitor – uganda)

“Failing to maintain prevention of Neglected Tropical Diseases during the Ebola outbreak cost lives. In fact, the final death toll from diseases such as malaria, HIV, and TB, outweighed the number of deaths caused by Ebola on its own. There are worrying signs that history is about to repeat itself. In 2018, The Democratic Republic of Congo reported another strain of Ebola, which coincided with a significant surge in malaria cases. In fact, DRC was already fighting four diseases before COVID-19 began to spread: cholera, measles, Ebola, and malaria. In a healthcare system already pushed to its limit, COVID-19 poses an even greater threat to DRC’s recovery.” READ MORE


“In sub-Saharan Africa, compared with other world regions, health systems that were fragile at baseline are being further weakened by the pandemic and the response. A study on the impact of potential disruptions in HIV services suggested that a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy could lead to a two-fold increase in deaths (equating to 500,000 excess deaths) from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa during 2020-2021.” READ MORE

8/14/20: South africa’s 33,000 excess deaths: What we know so far (daily maverick – south africa)

“While South Africa’s HIV and TB epidemics are of critical concern, the current excess death figures may not yet reflect the potential mortality increase as a result of the impact on care services for these two diseases for the next few years.” READ MORE

8/14/20: Impact of COVID-19 in Africa: A severe setback for development (phys)

“Beyond the emergency policies to fight the pandemic and mitigate its associated short-term economic impact, there is an obvious need for policies to build future resilience. Governments must also ensure that their focus on COVID-19 does not result in an increase in co-morbidity, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis related deaths.” READ MORE

8/13/20: Experts Warn of 750,000 More Malaria Deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa (vice world news)

“For both malaria and COVID-19, the big issue is making sure that people are being tested for both diseases, especially since their symptoms are so similar. “This is hard to do quickly, because while rapid diagnostic tests are available for malaria, it is very hard to create them for viral infections such as COVID-19.” READ MORE

8/13/20: Doctors Warn of Increase in TB, Malaria, HIV Deaths Due to COVID-19 (voa zimbabwe)

“‘We need to not forget diseases like TB, HIV and malaria. TB was in the top 10 global causes of death last year. ‘We stand to lose gains that we’ve been making in recent years, hard-fought gains that we’ve made, and we could be pushed back five 10, 20 years even,’ says Dr. Finn McQuaid, a TB expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.” READ MORE

8/13/20: TB, Malaria Cases Up As COVID-19 Grabs Global Attention (voa zimbabwe)

“‘We know there’s a 50 percent decrease in TB testing in South Africa at the moment. So, people are not able to go to the clinic or go to hospitals and so on, and they’re not being diagnosed with TB. And this means that they can then transmit TB further to other people. So, it’s just going to sort of snowball,’ says Dr. Finn McQuaid” WATCH

8/13/20: The U.S. Can Only Defeat COVID-19 Through Global Solidarity (time)

“We are at an inflection point – we could either lose thousands of lives from COVID-19 and from HIV, TB and malaria after losing the gains we have made over the years or we could consolidate those gains and save thousands, or even millions, of lives.” READ MORE

8/12/20: COVID-19: How Did We Get Here? When Can We Get Out? (medpage today)

“The African population has far fewer elderly people than North America and Europe, but the burden of TB, HIV, and malnutrition is much higher. …At present, the economic hardships associated with the pandemic have proven to be worse than the virus itself for many Africans, and there is great potential for collateral damage to public health programs on malnutrition, vaccine, malaria, and HIV.” READ MORE

8/12/20: pan american health organiation Director Warns COVID-19 Threatens Plans to Control Infectious Diseases (caribbean national weekly)

“30 per cent of people living with HIV [in the Americas] are avoiding seeking care and antiretroviral medications are in limited supply. Disruptions in hepatitis screenings, key for detection and treatment, were also reported by a third of the countries.” READ MORE

8/12/20: Coronavirus’s Long, Deadly Plateau in the Developing World (the wall street journal)

“Some 80% of programs designed to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria—which together kill millions each year—have been disrupted due to the pandemic, according to the WHO’s Global Fund, which coordinates a global response to those diseases. That disruption is particularly important in poorer nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America where those diseases are more prevalent.” READ MORE

8/12/20: How to stop COVID-19 fuelling a resurgence of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (nature)

“Hospitals and health authorities in affected cities and regions must recognize that AIDS, malaria and TB are surging again. In the case of TB, case detection — which has been affected by hospital testing facilities being diverted for COVID-19 — needs to be resumed quickly. It is possible for testing facilities to be shared for the two diseases. Some hospitals in the Asia–Pacific region are using the same equipment to run COVID-19 tests in the morning and TB tests in the afternoon — or vice versa. It is also possible to coordinate COVID-19 testing with rapid diagnostic testing for HIV and malaria.” READ MORE

8/12/20: Ohangwena’s mother-to-child HIV transmission down to 1% (new era – namibia)

“In addition to HIV/AIDS the governor further said the region is challenged with other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria and now COVID-19. The Ohangwena health director John Hango said TB is a challenge in the region because the cases are on an increase. ‘When you diagnose one person with TB there is a possibility that there are more cases at home because it is an airborne disease, hence cases are necessarily not decreasing,’ said Hango. It is not yet malaria season but Hango said malaria was worse last year in comparison to recent years.” READ MORE

8/12/20: henry jackson foundation medical research International (HJFMRI) Receives Grant to Research COVID-19 Impact on Pregnant Women and Newborns (pr newswire)

“This study monitors the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and newborns’ outcomes, with additional considerations of maternal anemia and co-infection with HIV, tuberculosis or malaria. The study also looks at the birth outcomes and the health of infants born to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and the rate, or possibility, of transmission to the child.” READ MORE

8/11/20: South Africa’s poor scramble for anti-HIV drugs amid virus (abc news)

“Clinics in central Johannesburg have seen a 10% to 25% drop in people coming for HIV treatment, she said. On top of that, several clinics have had to close temporarily when nurses and doctors have become sick with COVID-19. Some clinics see 60 to 80 patients per day, so when one closes, for even a week, it means many people are not getting their drugs. It’s a serious threat.” READ MORE

8/11/20: How COVID-19 threatens global progress in fight against other communicable diseases (the week)

“Studies found that deaths from other diseases, like malaria and HIV, actually went up at that time, even eclipsing the number of deaths caused by Ebola. Dr. Alpha Mahmoud Barry, [a public health specialist and epidemiologist,] who is based near a major health center in the capital, Conakry, said he is already seeing signs that this could happen again amid COVID-19. ‘It’s almost like people think malaria and HIV have gone away,’ he said.” READ MORE

8/11/20: Tony Blair: Three priorities for the developing world to beat Covid-19 (financial times)

“There is a risk of a huge rise in both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 deaths, as modelling from the Institute for Global Change has shown, compounding existing economic and food security crises. An increase could mean not just losing gains made in tackling HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and maternal and child health, but seeing those trends reverse.” READ MORE

8/11/20: COVID-19 threatens plans to eliminate and control infectious diseases, PAHO Director says (pan american health organization)

“Challenges in delivering TB treatments during the pandemic were reported by 80 percent of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which could turn manageable cases of TB into active infections. Similarly, 30 percent of people living with HIV are avoiding seeking care and antiretroviral medications are in limited supply. Disruptions in hepatitis screenings, key for detection and treatment, were also reported by a third of the countries.” READ MORE

8/10/20: RESPONDING TO COVID-19 – Global Accountability Report – March to May 2020 (Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF))

“MSF’s priority is to ensure medical teams are able to provide live-saving care and safely manage potential COVID-19 patients. MSF’s focus also is on maintaining or adapting crucial medical activities such as treatment for HIV and tuberculosis patients, measles vaccination campaigns, malaria prevention, and the fight against other infectious disease outbreaks such as cholera or Ebola.” READ MORE

8/10/20: HIV positive mothers give birth to healthy babies (informanté – namibia)

“Governor of Ohangwena Region, Walde Ndevashiya, said that the region continues to fight against common diseases and health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and the current COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the new coronavirus pandemic has diverted much of the medical attention towards curbing further spread of the virus as well as preparedness in case of an outbreak.” READ MORE

8/9/20: MALARIA AND COVID-19 DIAGNOSTIC dilemma FOR MALARIA ENDEMIC COUNTRIES (freedom newspaper – the gambia)

“Since malaria tests are readily available, WHO recommends that health workers perform a rapid test for malaria as they screen for COVID-19. Testing for malaria and COVID-19 at the same time is an excellent opportunity to respond to two potential infectious diseases promptly and reduce unnecessary morbidity and death. By quickly ruling out malaria, the healthcare provider can concentrate on the exact cause of illness and give appropriate and timely management of patients.” READ MORE

8/8/20: Africa’s one million coronavirus cases “the tip of the iceberg” (walta – ethiopia)

“The impact of the pandemic overwhelms and disrupts health care systems and services for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria—illnesses that also compound the effects of the coronavirus—leading to an additional loss of life. East and Southern Africa have the highest rates of those living with HIV. According to Avert, despite containing only 6.2 percent of the world’s population, these regions account for 54 percent of the world’s 20.8 million people diagnosed with HIV.” READ MORE

8/8/20: world health organization scales up COVID-19, TB search with mobile testing in Kaduna communities (premium times – nigeria)

“The mobile TB diagnostic facility, [Wellness On Wheels Truck], which was launched in mid-June 2020, has drastically increased access of community members to not only TB testing, but also COVID-19 and other deadly diseases with timely linkage to management/treatment. It has significantly reduced the turnaround time for test results, given the high volume of samples collected for processing.” READ MORE


“’Not only will the coronavirus cause much sickness and death, but we also face major setbacks in malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and childhood immunization, to name four, because health systems are overwhelmed and supply chains disrupted,’ said Sir Richard Feachem, PhD, DSc, director of the Global Health Group.” READ MORE

8/7/20: Mosquito net distribution could halve Malaria deaths in Africa during COVID-19 (imperial college london)

“An estimated 228 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) were due to be delivered across Sub-Saharan Africa this year, more than ever before. [Researchers] estimate that if these mosquito nets are not deployed and preventative chemotherapy and case management is reduced by half for six months, there could be 779,000 malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over 12 months.” READ MORE

8/7/20: The potential public health consequences of COVID-19 on malaria in Africa (nature)

“If malaria control activities are severely disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that malaria deaths could more than double in 2020 compared with 2019. If mosquito nets are not deployed and case management is reduced by half for 6 months there could be 779,000 malaria deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa over 12 months. The projected effect varies according to how long services are interrupted, if the disruption coincides with the malaria transmission season and whether routine vector control interventions such as the mass distribution of mosquito nets was due in 2020.” READ MORE

8/7/20: COVID-19 threatens global progress in fight against other communicable diseases (the world)

“If countries choose to focus completely on the COVID-19 epidemic and neglect maintaining essential prevention and treatment services for HIV, TB and malaria, we could see deaths that are on the same order of magnitude of those that would be caused by COVID-19 itself.” READ MORE

8/7/20: East African governments and the regional unity that won’t be (daily nation – kenya)

“All the East African Community (EAC) member states, like the rest of the continent, have experienced the double blow of the pandemic eating up the entire health budget, leaving the fight against the most daunting health crises that kill more Africans by far, such as Malaria and tuberculosis, with little attention.” READ MORE

8/7/20: Africa: Coronavirus Could Double Malaria Deaths, Researchers Warn (all africa)

“Okefu Oyale Okoko, a leading official of the Nigerian health ministry’s Malaria Elimination Programme, called for interventions against malaria to continue ‘in order to not only sustain the gains already made in malaria elimination but ensure we do not have a resurgence in malaria.’” READ MORE

8/7/20: Continuation of nutrition services amid Covid-19 (tribune – pakistan)

“The already burdened public health system now faces an enormous challenge to curb the spread of the virus as well as to continue the provision of quality and equitable access to essential health and nutrition services. As a result, the disruption of essential services could result in…outbreaks of measles, malaria, and tuberculosis to further exacerbate the overall health situation in Pakistan.” READ MORE

8/6/20: Potential effects of disruption to HIV programmes in sub-Saharan Africa caused by COVID-19: results from multiple mathematical models (the lancet hiv)

“Although an interruption in the supply of ART drugs would have the largest impact of any potential disruptions, effects of poorer clinical care due to overstretched health facilities, interruptions of supply of other drugs such as co-trimoxazole, and suspension of HIV testing would all have a substantial effect on population-level mortality (up to a 1.06 times increase in HIV-related deaths over a 1-year period due to disruptions affecting 50% of the population compared with no disruption).” READ MORE

8/6/20: Covid-19 threatens to overwhelm the developing world (the washington post)

“On HIV, there have been supply chain disruptions for anti-retroviral therapies, and many providers report being stressed or overwhelmed. On malaria — with many places in Africa reaching peak season — the work of net distribution and insecticide spraying has been compromised. On tuberculosis, COVID-19 has undermined diagnosis, treatment and prevention efforts. According to a recent worldwide survey, about three-quarters of HIV, TB and malaria programs are facing disruptions.” READ MORE

8/6/20: Kaduna State and WHO scale up COVID-19 and TB search with mobile testing in communities (world health organization nigeria)

“Presently, Kaduna State is witnessing over 50% reduction in hospital attendance and access to services due to disruption of routine essential services and programs resulting from prioritization of COVID-19 response. In renewed efforts to tackle COVID-19 alongside TB in Nigeria, WHO Nigeria in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, co-facilitated implementation of an integrated community testing for the two disease conditions using a mobile itinerant TB diagnostic facility called Wellness On Wheels Truck.” READ MORE

8/6/20: Covid-19: Patient voices and perspectives in Uganda (the british medical journal)

“The measures taken by the Ugandan government intended to combat the spread of COVID-19 totally disrupted the supply chain and healthcare service delivery system as all efforts were focused on COVID-19. Patients with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, hypertension…faced an increased risk of complications and death due to an inability to access healthcare because of transport restrictions, curfew, poor ambulatory systems and fear of contracting the virus from healthcare settings. The Infectious Diseases Clinic at Mulago National Referral Hospital committed to ensure continued delivery of quality HIV care and treatment services to its patients…by [safeguarding] continuity of patient treatment and safety as well as staff safety and well-being.” READ MORE

8/6/20: Africa passes 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The true toll is probably much higher (los angeles times)

“[WHO’s Africa chief] Matshidiso Moeti also worries about a related danger for which even less data exist: the number of deaths from diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis as resources are diverted to COVID-19.” READ MORE

8/5/20: How a cheap diagnostic kit could help the world beat superbugs (the telegraph – united kingdom)

“The antimicrobial resistance burden is likely to fall hardest on poor countries where antibiotics can be bought over the counter and healthcare is limited. These countries, which already have a high prevalence of infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, are now having to cope with the added burden of COVID-19 significantly disrupting access to health services.” READ MORE

8/5/20: PPE Shortages Impact Global Diseases; Broader Impact Of Remote Work (wbur-fm)

“The global fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis has seen success in recent years. But with medical workers and resources shifted to combatting COVID-19, these other diseases are again on the rise.” READ MORE

8/4/20: PAHO Director warns of disruptions in regular health services due to COVID-19 (pan american health organization)

“Without doctors and nurses available to offer other essential services at the first level of care – including pregnancy-related care, and management of chronic conditions like diabetes or infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria – these services are severely disrupted or worse yet, halted entirely.” READ MORE


“Before lockdown, 29% participants on [pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)] missed their 1-month visit and 41% missed their 3-month visit. During the nationwide lockdown, missed PrEP visits increased significantly to 63% at the 1-month visit and 55% at the 3-month visit. Overall, 34% of women missed visits before lockdown and 57% during lockdown.” READ MORE

8/3/20: ‘The Biggest Monster’ Is Spreading. And It’s Not the Coronavirus. (the new york times)

“The pandemic has hindered the availability of drugs for H.I.V., TB and malaria worldwide by interrupting supply chains, diverting manufacturing capacity and imposing physical barriers for patients who must travel to distant clinics to pick up the medications. And these shortages are forcing some patients to ration their medications, endangering their health.” READ MORE

8/3/20: Coronavirus Live Updates: Epidemic Is ‘Extraordinarily Widespread,’ Birx Warns (the new york times)

“‘Covid-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,’ said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program.” READ MORE

7/31/20: Understanding the impact of interruptions to HIV services during the covid-19 pandemic: A modelling study (MCR Centre for global infectious disease analysis – uk)

“A three-month interruption for 40% of those on [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] could cause a similar number of additional deaths as those that might be saved from COVID-19 through social distancing. An interruption for more than 690% of individuals on ART for nine months could cause the number of HIV deaths to exceed the number of COVID-19 deaths, depending on the COVID-19 projection. However, if ART supply is maintained, but new treatment, voluntary medical male circumcision, and pre-exposure prophylaxis initiations cease for 3 months and condom use is reduced, increases in HIV deaths would be limited to <2% over five years, although this could still be accompanied by a 7% increase in new HIV infections.” READ MORE

7/31/20: Unlock 3: No silver bullet yet, brace for ripple effects from Covid (the business line – india)

“As the trajectory of confirmed COVID cases and mortality increases, there will emerge second and third-order effects like economic crisis, food production problems, housing issues, people losing jobs, disruptions in children’s education, and mental health, for example, says Dr. Parikh. And all this besides seasonal health concerns like malaria or dengue that come with the rains, the existing concerns of tuberculosis, and so on.” READ MORE

7/31/20: Laois aid worker in Africa asks for help to save people from Covid-19 (leinster express)

“The area is so poor that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 may not admit it, because to isolate means to not be able to work, and then have no money for food. The healthcare system here is already overwhelmed with diseases like malaria and TB. There is one doctor per 90,000 people. People won’t be tested. The Malawi government is doing all they can but without resources.” READ MORE

7/30/20: Combating COVID impact on malaria programs (burnet institute – australia)

“‘The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the control of infectious diseases is substantial, undermining established programs addressing HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and childhood vaccination,’ Professor Beeson and his co-authors write. They list several problems specific to malaria treatment and prevention, including issues with supply chains for insecticide-treated nets; lower attendance at health clinics because of fear of exposure to COVID-19; not enough resources to protect frontline health care workers from COVID-19; and supply chain issues with drug and other medicines.” READ MORE

7/29/20: COVID-19 Projected to Cause Surge in Deaths From HIV, TB and Malaria (poz)

“UNAIDS and the World Health Organization have also raised the alarm about the risk of shortages of seven major generic ARVs in 73 nations, including the vitally important tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.” READ MORE

7/29/20: Interview: Urban Weber of the Global Fund on COVID and the Big Three (health issues india)

“The donor community should be prepared to support instant mitigation: if bed net campaigns don’t happen, there will be an immediate loss of life. Infected patients, especially children under five, will die in a matter of days. The response against COVID and the response against malaria must happen in parallel. If tuberculosis notification and therefore enrollment for treatment is reduced because of lockdowns, a higher transmission rate in underserved communities will be the result.” READ MORE

7/29/20: HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 Require Global Solidarity (in depth news)

“The COVID-19 pandemic also poses a challenge to the HIV response, in that it affects the achievements gained thus far as a result of service disruption, constrained supply chain systems and diversion in financing of the response. For instance, major donor countries might prioritize their domestic economic challenges that have been brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. The health system is getting overwhelmed due to the pandemic, thereby affecting service continuity for HIV and other essential services. In summary, it is not “either or”, rather we must put all efforts to end both pandemics.” READ MORE

7/29/20: Measles vaccination disruptions due to coronavirus put 80 million children at risk (the guardian)

“In the capital city, Kinshasa, we noticed a major drop in consultation as many people feared they would be infected with COVID by going to health facilities deemed under-equipped with protective equipment, or feared being isolated and stigmatized for a long time due to the delays in obtaining test results. This situation affected the care of sick people and the monitoring of their treatment, especially for conditions such as diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS.” READ MORE

7/29/20: Top 5 stories on COVID-19 and HIV from AIDS 2020 (aids map)

“Many African countries responded quickly to COVID-19 by implementing changes to medication distribution and follow up appointments. Some have decreased the number of clinic visits and now dispense more HIV treatment to last longer, known as multi-month prescribing. Data presented from a South Africa study showed that when people are given fewer clinic appointments, this does not lead to poorer HIV management.” READ MORE

7/28/20: COVID-19 disruptions could lead to surge in infectious disease deaths (medical news today)

“Experts indicate that the pandemic’s knock-on effects are likely to be most severe in low and middle-income countries, where health systems are less robust and economic reserves are more limited. A particular concern is the impact of the pandemic on countries with high burdens of infectious diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis, which depend on regular, large-scale programs of control and treatment.” READ MORE

7/28/20: Pacific nations face wider health crisis as systems focus on stopping Covid-19 (the guardian)

“Disruptions [such as poorer access to antiretroviral drugs, and interruptions to net campaigns, diagnosis and treatment] could lead to a loss of life-years over five years that is of the same order of magnitude as the direct impact from COVID-19 in places with a high burden of malaria and large HIV and tuberculosis epidemics.” READ MORE

7/28/20: Review: Global Food Insecurity set to rise because of COVID-19 (factly – india)

“Healthcare centers have been overwhelmed because of the pandemic and this has affected their ability to extend childcare and antenatal care. Moreover, in developing countries, infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, tuberculosis, etc. are still prevalent and quality nutrition intake is a must.” READ MORE

7/27/20: Bill Gates: How HIV/AIDS prepared us to tackle COVID-19 (world economic forum)

“‘Better diagnostic tools are being developed to help identify these [coronavirus] infections. Investments are being made in libraries of antiviral drugs. Also, we’re making great progress on vaccines. These platforms won’t just be useful against this particular virus, they will also help us specifically for HIV,’ Bill Gates says.” READ MORE

7/27/20: papua new guinea orders lockdown of capital after first virus death (malay mail)

“Papua last week asked for help from the World Health Organization, which is said to be mobilizing international emergency medical teams to deploy to the country. Experts fear a severe COVID-19 outbreak could be catastrophic in a country where malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are already problems.” READ MORE

7/27/20: It’s ‘trading one health crisis for another’ (business line)

“Leena Menghaney with the Médecins Sans Frontières explained that diseases dependent on the public health system for delivery of treatment — such as TB, malaria and viral hepatitis — saw the most sufferers. HIV and hepatitis require frequent examination of viral load for deciding on the treatment, but equipment and manpower used for this were mostly diverted for COVID testing, said Menghaney. ‘Similarly, with the bed net scheme temporarily stopped due to COVID, the incidence of malaria…is expected to go up in most malaria-infected regions in the country.’” READ MORE

7/24/20: Western Region records low patronage of mother, child health services (ghanaweb)

“The Western Regional Health Director, Naa Dr Jacob Yakubu Mahama, however, said there was a significant reduction in malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS cases.” READ MORE

7/24/20: Malawi: Germany Commits to Support Malawi Health Sector (nyasa times)

“The envoy said Germany has been supporting the health sector in areas if neonatal and maternal health, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through its GTZ and KFW is committed to helping Malawi fight COVID-19.” READ MORE

7/24/20: India and Africa: A compassionate partnership (the telegraph – india)

“COVID-19 has brought new challenges to an Africa saddled with endemic diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and Ebola, the four other infectious killers in recent times.” READ MORE

7/24/20: A tale of two pandemics: Covid-19 and lessons learnt from HIV (bhekisisa – south africa)

“TB testing numbers almost halved during shelter-in-place orders and HIV viral load testing fell too, says Linda-Gail Bekker, CEO of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation.” READ MORE

7/24/20: A tale of two pandemics: Covid-19 and lessons learnt from HIV (daily maverick – south africa)

“The COVID-19 outbreak comes at a time when South Africa is trying to increase access to the HIV prevention pill — a daily tablet that can dramatically reduce someone’s chances of contracting the virus. At the same time, the country is in the process of introducing a 3-in-1 antiretroviral that includes the newer medication, dolutegravir. Depending on whether the country sees successive waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, Linda-Gail Bekker [CEO of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation] predicts it could take at least a year to 18 months to get a sense of how the pandemic has impacted HIV care and treatment, and other health programs such as childhood immunizations.” READ MORE

7/23/20: 4 European Union Humanitarian Air Bridge Flights, coordinated by Portugal, bring medical supplies and equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Guinea-Bissau (european union external action)

“This new wave of humanitarian aid addresses the country’s immediate health needs in the face not only of the coronavirus, but also of other diseases that need urgent attention during this pandemic period, notably Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV.” READ MORE

7/23/20: Emergency budget addresses causes, not consequences of Covid-19 – DA Northern Cape (politics web – south africa)

“Not only does the [Northern Cape] province already have high defaulting rates, but early research also shows that mortality rates from the coronavirus are two to three times higher in individuals who are HIV-positive or who suffer from tuberculosis.” READ MORE

7/23/20: How avoiding emergency department visits can have serious consequences (express healthcare – india)

“Prior experience from Ebola outbreak (2014 – 2015) suggests that the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures.” READ MORE

7/23/20: Fearful Papua New Guinea calls for WHO virus help (yahoo news australia)

“National pandemic response controller David Manning expressed ‘serious concerns on the alarming rate of increase of COVID-19 cases in Port Moresby and the likely spread to the other provinces’, saying there was a ‘high likelihood of expanded community transmission’. Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the Pacific. Its rickety health system is already under severe pressure from the widespread transmission of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, as well as one of the world’s few remaining outbreaks of polio.” READ MORE

7/23/20: Community engagement critical in Covid 19 fight (the herald – zimbabwe)

“With the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) observing an increase of 100,000 new cases weekly, there is concern on how the fight against COVID-19 is affecting governments’ response to other health interventions such as malaria, tuberculosis and immunization programs.” READ MORE

7/23/20: UN releases USD 106 million for socio-economic sector (agencia angola press)

“For this year, Paolo Badelli said five million dollars have already been raised to provide immediate responses to the needs of combating the pandemic, with the other 31 million dollars to be raised through UN agencies in New York and bilateral partners. He also spoke of the need for Angola to work to improve access to health services, avoiding major endemic diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, areas in which he said there was “strong investment” by the UN.” READ MORE

7/22/20: Covid-19: Projections predict increase in cases (agencia angola press)

“Secretary of State for Public Health, Franco Mufinda recalled that the Angolan health system is already struggling with problems in the treatment of transmissible and non-transmissible diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, typhoid fever, and others.” READ MORE

7/22/20: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock Remarks in Conversation with CSIS on Covid-19’s Next Cascade of Crises & Choices Before the World’s Leaders (United nations office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs/ Reliefweb)

“In addition, at least 2 million preventable deaths could occur as a result of disrupted health care through the pandemic. Already, millions of children in 80 countries are not receiving their routine vaccinations. The annual death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria is set to double. Important progress that has been realized by GAVI and the Global Fund and the work of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and others, in other words, could be compromised as a result of the pandemic.” READ MORE

7/22/20: ‘Community involvement key in Covid-19 fight’ (the herald – ZIMBABWE)

“‘We need to redouble our commitment towards the fight against Covid-19 and other diseases like TB, HIV and malaria. This is the time for governments to commit to resourcing their health facilities because COVID-19 is a massive health disruption which arises with huge socio-economic consequences’ said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund.” READ MORE

7/22/20: Can we learn from COVID-19 testing infrastructure for TB management? (cnbc tv18 – india)

“The steps taken to overcome initial stigma and inertia in the case of COVID-19 through large mass communication channels can be replicated to apply for TB. …Key pieces of the necessary data infrastructure for mass TB surveillance and management can be extracted from the COVID-19 model and utilized for collecting data at scale…through labs, public and local health agencies.” READ MORE

7/21/20: How Deadly Is COVID-19? Researchers May Have Finally Found An Answer (latin post)

“In other epidemics, experts say people avoided seeking medical attention due to fears they would get infected with the virus. Additionally, overwhelmed healthcare systems also faced difficulties in providing services. One study showed HIV, TB, and malaria may have killed more people during the 2014- 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa than the virus itself.” READ MORE

7/21/20: Malaria struggle must not be derailed by COVID-19 (the Brussels times)

“COVID-19 exists in addition to, not instead of, the world’s existing health problems. It is clear that the progress that has been made against malaria is in danger as resources are diverted to tackling COVID-19.” READ MORE

7/21/20: Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Kits Market Increase In Development Activities Is More Boosting Demands, 2020-2030 (science examiner)

“Emergence of COVID-19 has driven the need of better diagnostic tools, which is expected to propel the global RT-PCR kits market. Moreover, increase in incidence of HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other genetic disorders is likely to boost demand for RT-PCR kits during the forecast period.” READ MORE

7/21/20: Statement On The Global Response To COVID-19 (office of United States senator patrick leahy)

“Disruptions in supply chains, personnel, transport, and other factors caused by COVID-19 are projected to result in millions of additional deaths from AIDS, TB, and malaria in 2020 and 2021.” READ MORE

7/20/20: How COVID-19 threatens efforts to contain HIV/AIDS in South Africa (the conversation)

“Twenty-four countries are at risk of drug stock-outs of major first-line drugs; 38 countries reported a disruption in HIV testing and 23 reported a disruption in HIV viral load monitoring.” READ MORE

7/20/20: Coronavirus Threatens Progress in AIDS Fight (karma impact)

“Vaccinations and screenings for HIV, measles, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases are down because of COVID-19, and this could lead to more deaths.” READ MORE

7/20/20: Fears of HIV spike in Jamaica as pandemic hits prevention efforts (reuters)

“‘What we are finding is some persons are not committed to taking their HIV medication because they have other problems that in their head are more important than medication. They are busy trying to find food and bread for their family, and they are not really thinking about taking medication,’ said Jumoke Patrick, executive director of the Jamaican Network of Seropositives, which advocates for the rights of people with HIV.” READ MORE

7/19/20: Defeating Covid-19 a worldwide effort (the sun daily – malaysia)

“Other preventable deaths are rising as less people get medical attention due to loss of livelihoods and health coverage. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has estimated an additional 1.44 million deaths from the three killer diseases.” READ MORE

7/18/20 Coronavirus reaching hinterland real challenge for health care (hindustan times – india)

“‘Some progress has certainly been made in improving service delivery in rural areas, but the focus has been largely on maternal and childcare, with some good work in malaria and TB control. But by and large, the infrastructure capacity to cope with infectious diseases in terms of trained personnel, laboratory support and good district and sub district level hospitals continue to be poor. A lot more focus and investment [are] needed,’ said K Sujatha Rao, former Union health secretary.” READ MORE

7/18/20: Africa can’t afford COVID-19 trade-offs (the reporter ethiopia)

“For starters, diagnostic tests – for COVID-19 and many other common diseases – must be accessible to all – and especially to high-risk populations. Africa has well-established testing services for several common diseases, including multi-disease testing for HIV and TB. But these programs are now at risk, and Africa is also falling behind other regions in testing for COVID-19.” READ MORE


“Since the nadir of [Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP)] prescriptions in the week of April 13–19, a relatively rapid increase in prescriptions was seen during the lockdown period reaching 17 prescriptions (May 11–17) and 20 prescriptions (May 18–24) in the 2 weeks immediately after restrictions began to on May 13, 2020, and individuals were allowed to visit friends and family indoors with no more than five visitors.5 If PEP prescriptions are used as a proxy for risky behaviour then our data suggest that any decrease in HIV and STI diagnoses will be temporary. With the first 4 weeks during lockdown (March 23–April 19), a 66% reduction was seen, from 88 to 30 PEP prescriptions.” READ MORE

7/17/20: Africa can’t afford COVID-19 trade-offs (PaZimbabwe)

“Some countries have introduced joint testing for TB and COVID-19 and for malaria and COVID-19 (and immediate malaria treatment if required). Joint testing makes all the more sense, because HIV, TB, and malaria may all cause symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as high fevers. Such programs must be scaled up, so that diagnostics and treatments — which are often expensive and difficult to access — are available to all.” READ MORE

7/17/20: Politics gets in the way of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response (devex)

“Government officials admit that reopening most sectors of the Nigerian economy could lead to a rise in coronavirus cases but — in line with the advice of WHO’s Africa office — they say the extension of lockdowns would threaten gains made in other areas, including the fight against diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV.” READ MORE

7/16/20: UN Raises COVID-19 Appeal to $10.3 Billion (voa news)

“Another 1.7 million people could die from treatable diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, from disruptions to health services and resources diverted to COVID-19.” READ MORE

7/16/20: COVID-19: UN relief chief urges G20 to step up to avert ‘cascading crises’ in fragile countries (UN NEWS)

“UN agencies estimate that due to disruptions to health systems caused by the pandemic, some 6,000 children could die each every day from preventable causes, while annual deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, could double.” READ MORE

7/16/20: PAHO to work with COICA indigenous organization to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the Amazon basin (pan american health organization)

“[The Pan American Health Organization and Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin] also warned that the high rates of diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases in these communities ‘increases the risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19.’ Chronic child malnutrition, high maternal mortality rates, malaria and dengue in indigenous communities, also ‘adds to the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.’” READ MORE

7/16/20: No treatment without Covid test, say private hospital doctors (the new indian express)

“It is near impossible to identify COVID-19 cases from just the symptoms, as fever is a basic symptom for malaria and dengue too. We cannot take any chances now, as the number of local transmission cases in the coastal areas and within the city is spiking.” READ MORE


“For TB, [researchers at Imperial College London] said the greatest impact [of COVID-19] could be from reductions in timely diagnosis and treatment of new cases. Based on the model, the scientists said in southern African countries, TB deaths could rise by as much as 20 percent over the next five years compared with when services are functioning normally.” READ MORE

7/16/20: 109 Local PPE Manufacturers Trained (kenya news)

“The new facilities would be designed to bolster testing capacity and reduce tests turnaround time [for COVID-19]. The laboratories will also be used for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other tests.” READ MORE

7/15/20: HIV, malaria and TB deaths likely to surge amid Covid-19: Study (the strait times – singapore)

“In countries with a high malaria burden and large HIV and TB epidemics, even short-term disruptions could have devastating consequences for the millions of people who depend on programs to control and treat these diseases.” READ MORE

7/15/20: America Should Prepare for a Double Pandemic (the atlantic)

“Global programs that fight HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis are being disrupted as workers are reassigned to fighting COVID-19, supplies run out, and labs are inundated.” READ MORE

7/15/20: In African villages, coronavirus sparks fears of a spike in malaria deaths (Thomson reuters)

“It would not be the first time an outbreak of another disease led to a rise in the number of malaria infections. North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo saw an eight-fold increase in malaria cases after the 2018 Ebola outbreak there as the focus of medical efforts shifted.” READ MORE

7/15/20: The G20 needs to do more to address the human toll of COVID-19 (the atlantic council)

“Treatment and prevention programs for [HIV, TB, and malaria] have been disrupted, community health facilities have been overwhelmed by COVID patients, and resources previously committed to the HIV, TB, and malaria diverted.” READ MORE

7/14/20: Pandemic risks ‘surge’ in infectious disease deaths (manilla bulletin – philippines)

“The [Imperial College London] team behind the research said it was vital for governments to ensure that people living with the three killers [HIV, TB, and malaria] continued to have access to diagnosis and treatment even while health systems are stretched by COVID-19.” READ MORE

7/14/20: COVID-19 Ripple Effect May Raise HIV, TB and Malaria Death Tolls? (VOA)

“TB deaths increase the most under this scenario by 20% over the next five years, as untreated patients spread the disease.” READ MORE

7/14/20: What Happens When A Pandemic And An Epidemic Collide (NPR)

“The biggest worry is that patients won’t be able to get the AIDS drugs they need because closed borders can interfere with drug shipments; or because quarantines have slowed down work in industries including drug manufacturing; or because economic losses will threaten funding for AIDS prevention programs from some governments.” READ MORE

7/14/20: COVID-19: How to address Africa’s disease burden amidst a pandemic (cnbc africa)

“The Access to Medicine Foundation says after decades of investment for ending HIV, malaria and tuberculosis pandemics, the progress made in protecting children from these diseases is now at risk due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” READ MORE

7/14/20: Complicating the Coronavirus Lockdown Debate (contagion live)

“In areas with substantial prior health care resource strains, the [Imperial College London researchers] even note that years of life lost (defined as the number of years a person would have been expected to live had they not died of a particular cause) could in some cases be of similar scale to the biological impact of the pandemic itself.” READ MORE

7/14/20: The developing world faces a health, economic and security crisis that will dwarf the impact of Covid (the telegraph – united kingdom)

“If no action is taken, the diversion of health resources [to COVID-19] could mean the annual death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria doubling.” READ MORE

7/14/20: Surge in HIV, TB and Malaria Deaths Predicted Following COVID-19 Pandemic (technology network)

“Much of the gain made in malaria control over the last decade has been due to the distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, which many Sub-Saharan Africa countries planned to distribute in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely disrupt these distributions, as well as other core health services, resulting in more malaria cases and deaths.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study by Imperial college london (the lancet global health)

“In settings with high burdens of HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria, disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic could cause an increase in deaths due to HIV of up to 10%, due to tuberculosis of up to 20%, and due to malaria of up to 36%, over 5 years compared with if no COVID-19 pandemic occurred. In settings with high burdens of HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria, maintaining a continuity of services and recovering programs should be a high priority to reduce the broader health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” READ MORE

7/13/20: How the covid-19 pandemic is making malaria and HIV more deadly (new scientist)

“Testing for HIV has also been hampered, meaning an increased risk of transmission because people will be unaware they have it, says Atkins. For TB, which already kills around 4000 people daily, a reduction in diagnosis and treatment is the biggest concern.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Study predicts surge in HIV, TB and malaria deaths amid COVID-19 pandemic (thomson reuters foundation)

“The knock-on impact of COVID-19 could undo some of the significant progress against [HIV, TB, and malaria] made over the past two decades, compounding the burden caused by the pandemic directly.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Ghana’s death statistics and COVID-19: There are worse killers (graphic – ghana)

“Ghana’s 129 recorded casualties from COVID-19 over the last six months thus remain the lowest (about 1 death per day) in terms of contribution to the total death figures of the country. It is therefore of essence that the Health Officials maintain high level of focus to treat patients of diseases that have real impact on the country’s overall death such as malaria, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Africa Can’t Afford COVID-19 Tradeoffs (project syndicate)

“Already, some African countries have paused programs providing TB and HIV treatments and diagnostics, and suspended distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) – essential to protect against malaria – right before the high-transmission rainy season.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Peter Sands breaks down the ‘huge amount at stake’ for HIV progress (devex)

“COVID-19 lockdowns have had a drastic impact on both treatment and prevention of HIV. The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, while local mobility restrictions have affected distribution of antiretroviral drugs and other medicines.” READ MORE

7/13/20: Study suggests potential surge in HIV, TB, and malaria deaths due to coronavirus (bournemouth echo – united kingdom)

“For TB, the greatest impact [from COVID-19] is predicted to be from reductions in timely diagnosis and treatment of new cases.” READ MORE

7/12/20: PEPFAR’s response to the convergence of the HIV and COVID19 pandemics in SubSaharan Africa (JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS SOCIETY)

“The COVID‐19 pandemic may pose significant risks to the continuity of HIV services, especially in countries with high HIV prevalence and weak and over‐burdened health systems. Although there is currently limited understanding of how COVID‐19 affects [people living with HIV (PLHIV)], it is imperative that public health systems and academic centres monitor the impact of COVID‐19 on PLHIV. The general principles of the HIV programme adaptation guidance from PEPFAR prioritize protecting the gains in the HIV response while minimizing in‐person home and facility visits and other direct contact when COVID‐19 control measures are in effect. PEPFAR‐supported clinical, laboratory, supply chain, community and data reporting systems can play an important role in mitigating the impact of COVID‐19 in sub‐Saharan Africa.” READ MORE

7/11/20: Non-Covid-19 patients left in the lurch as virus swamps hospitals (Deccan herald – india)

“A UN study concluded that for every month of lockdown, India may witness an additional 71,000 TB deaths and more than 232,000 TB cases over the next five years.” READ MORE

7/10/20: COVID-19: Re-tooling Nigeria’s public health delivery model? (The Guardian – Nigeria)

“In the aftermath of the Ebola crisis, many individuals died due to the inability of the overwhelmed health systems to treat malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis than from Ebola itself. A similar trend can only be avoided in the aftermath of this fight against COVID-19 if efforts are geared towards putting in place a proactive, revolutionary and easily affordable and accessible health services delivery model [in Nigeria] that can ride on strong deployment of technology to strengthen healthcare accessibility at the grassroots.”  READ MORE

7/9/20: covid-19 and other diseases (london review of books)

“According to figures compiled by researchers at McGill University, the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to cause an additional 400,000 malaria deaths this year; an additional 700,000 HIV-related deaths in Africa alone; and up to 1.4 million additional tuberculosis deaths by 2025. The list continues: at least 80 million children under one are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, rubella and polio, as routine immunization services have been disrupted in almost 70 countries.” READ MORE

7/9/20: COVID-19 pandemic disrupts crucial supply of life-saving HIV medicine for millions (globe and mail – canada)

“A separate study by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria found that at least three-quarters of the fund’s programs in 106 countries, including 85 per cent of its HIV programs, were suffering disruptions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” READ MORE

7/9/20: Nigeria: COVID-19 – Group Cautions Against Retrogression in Anti Malaria Drive (all africa)

“Vulnerable communities where health care services are underserved…are under the threat of COVID-19 and are at the risk of a resurgence of malaria, HIV and TB. As the resources that used to serve these communities which were inadequate to begin with is stretched to serve the needs of COVID-19, alongside the economic downturn occasioned by the lockdown could result in nutritional deficiencies and collapse of services.” READ MORE

7/9/20: Hospitals overwhelmed as Johannesburg runs out of oxygen (the telegraph – united kingdom)

“The soaring coronavirus caseload is wreaking havoc on South Africa’s other major health crises: the HIV and tuberculosis epidemics. Almost five million South Africans are on life-saving antiretroviral drugs but in recent weeks the delivery of this HIV therapy has been severely disrupted by the pandemic.” READ MORE

7/9/20: What Toll Will COVID-19 Take on Tuberculosis and HIV Treatment? (the wire, science – india)

“TB patients often have lung damage, and it is possible that they might have poorer outcomes [from COVID-19] if they also developed pneumonia due to coronavirus.” READ MORE

7/8/20: Coronavirus latest: US tops 3 million coronavirus cases (Deutsche Welle – germany)

“The UNAIDS and WHO can only estimate, but they are estimating half-a-million additional deaths due to a lack of supplies. The issue with HIV is that you have to take the medication every day. And if you do not have medication for months or even a week, you might develop resistance against the medication. And then it won’t work anymore.” READ MORE

7/8/20: HIV funding is dwindling. Who will fill the gap? (devex)

“As the novel coronavirus continues to squeeze government budgets, experts note there are more questions and uncertainties on the future of HIV funding. UNAIDS estimates a shortfall of 30% in the overall amount needed to effectively respond to HIV in 2020.”  READ MORE

7/8/20: U.S. exit from WHO will jeopardize global fight against COVID-19, polio, other diseases, experts say (nbc news)

“The U.S. departure could also threaten other WHO programs that seek to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and ensure vaccinations for children and safe childbirth in poorer countries.” READ MORE

7/7/20: ‘Leaving the WHO Will Hurt Americans’ Health (foreign policy)

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to double the death toll from HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.” READ MORE

7/7/20: Foreign Aid Is A Key Part Of U.S. Foreign Policy (patch – new york)

“In addition to addressing immediate COVID-19 needs, the [Congressional earmark] takes a holistic approach to global health and seeks to accelerate the strengthening of health systems in low- and middle-income countries to manage health threats and communicable diseases, which we know all too well do not respect borders. To help sustain progress against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria, the earmark provides $5.93 billion for global HIV/AIDS activities, including $1.56 billion for the Global Fund and clarifies the U.S. commitment to maintaining our 33% share.’” READ MORE

7/7/20: Coronavirus lockdowns seen increasing HIV risk to women and girls (times of india)

“UNAIDS urged countries to increase investment in both HIV and COVID-19, citing the Ebola outbreak in western Africa as an example of what could go wrong.” READ MORE

7/7/20: Odisha COVID-19 lockdown: Five-day shutdown ordered in urban pockets of Ganjam after spike in coronavirus cases (FINANCIAL EXPRESS – INDIA)

“Apart from checking symptoms for COVID-19, the health teams [conducting door-to-door screening] would also collect data on diseases like tuberculosis and malaria.” READ MORE

7/6/20: Coronavirus-induced disruption in resources may cause 1 million extra deaths due to other diseases (Wion news – india)

“The coronavirus pandemic has absorbed the focus of all health agencies and relief groups, leaving in the lurch many suffering life-threatening diseases like HIV, AIDS, and TB.”  READ MORE

7/6/20: Efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic could cause over 1 million extra deaths from other diseases, experts warn (CNN)

“‘The social distancing efforts and lockdowns to control the spread of it [coronavirus], have disrupted HIV prevention and treatment programs and put vital HIV research on hold,’ said Dr. Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society, last week, ahead of the AIDS2020 conference.”  READ MORE

7/6/20: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic shows that 2020 targets will not be met because of deeply unequal success; COVID-19 risks blowing HIV progress way off course (unaids)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted the AIDS response and could disrupt it more. A six-month complete disruption in HIV treatment could cause more than 500,000 additional deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over the next year (2020–2021), bringing the region back to 2008 AIDS mortality levels. Even a 20% disruption could cause an additional 110,000 deaths.”  READ MORE

7/6/20: When one pandemic disrupts another: The story of the coronavirus and HIV (THE WASHINGTON POST)

“Arguably, if people cannot access PrEP and testing and are just unable to do the things they need to do to keep themselves safe, we might see a slowing in the reduction in HIV infections.” READ MORE

7/6/20: MSF (Doctors without borders) welcomes johnson & johnson price cut on lifesaving tb drug as an important step forward (Médicins sans frontières)

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has further advised countries to treat people with drug resistant-TB in the safety of their homes by using all-oral regimens, including Bedaquiline, instead of injections that require people to visit clinics, where they could possibly be exposed to other patients who have contracted the novel coronavirus.”  READ MORE

7/6/20: AMREF Donates Over Sh.180m To Support Fight Against Covid-19 In Nine Counties (kenya news)

“According to a Program Director, HIV, TB, Malaria and Non-Communicable Diseases at African Medical and Research Foundation, Dr. Bernard Langat, nine counties [in Kenya] would each receive 20 million Kenyan Shillings that would also address emerging issue like drastic drop in the number of patients seeking treatment in hospital due to COVID-19 fears.”  READ MORE

7/6/20: Efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic could cause over 1 million extra deaths from other diseases, experts warn (abc news 7)

“‘This year’s pandemic and the Ebola 2014 epidemic “are very similar in certain ways,’ said Dr. Emanuele Capobianco, director of health and care for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ‘I remember there was a very huge spike for malaria, because malaria was not being diagnosed. To alleviate this, tests were taken out to the community, allowing malaria to be diagnosed and treated more easily.’”  READ MORE

7/4/20: I hope Metro extends to airport, Whitefield: Consulate-General of Japan (the new indian express)

“In addition to over 600,000 COVID-19 cases in the country and over 6,000 cases in Bengaluru, diseases like tuberculosis and malaria are also rampant.”  READ MORE

7/4/20: Let’s not forget tuberculosis while fighting COVID (the jakarta post – indonesia)

“The impact of reduced availability and use of TB services [due to COVID-19 lockdowns] is that 6.3 million more people will fall ill due to TB by 2025 and 1.4 million more will die if immediate action is not taken. This puts the world at infection levels last seen five to eight years ago.”  READ MORE

7/3/20: Are we pacing-up the diagnosis facilities for killer diseases like TB amidst COVID-19? (express healthcare – india)

“With the ongoing pandemic, there is a significant risk that prevention and treatment programs for the existing conditions will be disrupted. Therefore, it is essential to plan and monitor the procurement and supply of TB medicines and diagnostics that are not disturbed and available to the affected individuals.”  READ MORE

7/2/20: Swapping production of malaria tests for covid-19 tests requires an urgent response (the british medical journal)

“…Several diagnostic companies have suggested that production dedicated to the most widely used malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) will be reallocated to covid-19 RDTs. Without malaria RDTs, healthcare workers in high endemic countries will resort to presumptive treatment, risking inappropriate use of antimalarials and development of drug resistance. This will eventually lead to an increased demand for artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), which is already facing supply difficulties due to the covid-19 pandemic.”  READ MORE

7/2/20: civil society organizations seek increased investment towards eradicating malaria (tvc news – nigeria)

“But civil society organizations in the malaria, tuberculosis and HIV response plan are concerned that funding could now dwindle for other interventions. The prevention and treatment services for various diseases have been severely disrupted since the [COVID-19] outbreak began. Major diseases like…HIV, Tuberculosis and others have experienced a shortfall in funding as regards response towards their prevention and control.”  READ MORE

7/2/20: COVID-19 response must incorporate TB, malaria, HIV programs as essential services (the jakarta post – indonesia)

“Hospitalized TB patients may experience respiratory failure, which usually need a ventilator to help them breathe. They must share the limited supply of ventilators with COVID-19 patients who have developed respiratory failure. The mortality rate is significantly higher in patients whose need for a ventilator cannot be met.”  READ MORE

7/2/20: A new deal could ease Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis. The international community must get behind it. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

“Long before Venezuela confirmed its first case of COVID-19, the country was facing a humanitarian emergency: Malnutrition was on the rise; vaccine-preventable diseases that had been eradicated, like measles and diphtheria, returned; and infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis spiked. Health professionals struggled, as basic utilities blinked on and off at health-care facilities and many colleagues emigrated, driving a steady decline in health-care operational capacity.” READ MORE

7/2/20: COVID-19: How 170 Missed Out On ARV Care During Lockdown (nigerian tribune)

“Dr Olajide, [of the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria] however, declared that since June, the number of clients coming to the clinics for ARVs [in Oyo State] had improved, adding that ‘our clients now take at least three months of drugs so that it decongests the clinic and lockdown will not be an issue.’” READ MORE

7/2/20: Africa should not be complacent with Covid-19 fatality rate – Director of African Centres for Disease Control (joy news – ghana)

“‘We have to know that there are other forces that are playing against us and could play against us [and contribute to a spike in coronavirus cases], those include endemic diseases that we have for example the tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and malnutrition will play against us. And also the rising number of non-communicable diseases will also play against us,’ said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”  READ MORE

7/1/20: ‘THE WORK MUST GO ON’ – UNINTERRUPTED HELP FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV & TB DURING COVID-19 (united nations development programme)

“Responding to COVID-19 lockdown logistical challenges, the United Nations Development Programme, Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health, the Sudanese National Medical Supplies Fund, and World Food Programme collaborated to ensure 17 containers of HIV and TB medication and laboratory supplies continued to reach those in need [in Sudan].” READ MORE

7/1/20: COVID-19 and the Most Vulnerable (harvard medical school)

“‘The coronavirus pandemic has generated a massive international response in part because it is afflicting people in richer countries and interfering with the global economy, while other diseases that ravage poorer countries, like Ebola virus disease, malaria and tuberculosis, are often ignored,’ said Eugene Richardson, Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.” READ MORE

7/1/20: Let us not allow Covid-19 crowd out other, even deadlier, diseases (daily nation – kenya)

“The resources needed to treat [AIDS, TB, cholera, malaria, polio] could run out as they are repurposed for COVID-19. According to Dr. John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), hospitals are so overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases that they’re redirecting medical staff, running short on supplies and suspending other key health services.” READ MORE

6/30/20: Flattening the malaria and COVID-19 curves (the hill)

“It turns out, investing in flattening the malaria curve will help us flatten the COVID-19 curve. In the same way that U.S. hospitals postponed elective surgeries to clear beds for COVID patients, it is essential that countries with a high malaria burden have effective malaria prevention programs to ensure their hospitals and clinics have the capacity needed for COVID patients.” READ MORE

6/30/20: The poor lose again: Impact of Covid-19 on Africa (daily maverick – south africa)

“COVID-19 afflicts older people most severely. The disease is expected to have relatively low mortality rates in Africa compared to other regions. While Africa benefits from its younger population, this is offset by its comorbidities like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. In addition, vulnerabilities caused by poverty, poor nutrition, weak healthcare systems, crowded settlements, and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation are likely to lead to higher death tolls, offsetting the demographic age advantage.” READ MORE

6/30/20: Malaria elimination at risk as Ghana economy improves (science and development network)

“In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, where lockdowns have limited access to health facilities and preventive malaria interventions have been interrupted, there is a risk that the recent progress made by Ghana in the fight against malaria will be reversed.” READ MORE

6/30/20: Red Cross molecular lab can test other infectious diseases, says Gordon (manila bulletin – philippines)

“The primary purpose why [the Philippines Red Cross] put up molecular laboratories is that [the Philippines Red Cross] wants to help the country respond to COVID-19 by providing facilities where our people can be tested. But soon, we will also start testing for other diseases, [such as tuberculosis, HIV, dengue, malaria, hepatitis, leptospirosis and Zika.]” READ MORE

6/29/20: Sierra Leone tackling malaria amidst COVID-19 outbreak response (world health organization africa)

“‘A special strategy was needed to carry out the distribution of the [4.6 million] bed nets in these COVID-19 hotspot communities. Safety of the frontline personnel implementing the interventions and safety of the beneficiaries was carefully thought out to mitigate people getting infected with COVID-19 in the process of protecting them from malaria,’ says Evans Liyosi, WHO Country Representatives in Sierra Leone.”  READ MORE

6/29/20: Will the U.S. Congress Rise to the Moment and Save Lives? Or Will They Let COVID-19 Roll Back Years of Fragile Gains Against HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria? (health gap)

“HIV, TB, and malaria are global emergencies that kill 2.8 million people per year – a staggering loss of life that nevertheless represents progress from the worst days of the pandemics. COVID-19 is threatening to roll the clock back to the peak of the epidemics, before PEPFAR and the Global Fund existed, before the current life-saving antiretroviral treatment regimens existed, to the days when an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence.” READ MORE

6/29/20: COVID-19 and HIV: What You Need to Know (poz)

“Jeff Taylor, a longtime treatment activist and advocate for long-term survivors, is working on a study that aims to follow a cohort of HIV-positive and…HIV-negative people age 50 or older to see who [contracts] the coronavirus, what kind of immune responses they mount and what the course of disease looks like over time. An important part of that will be studying the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 to see if this triggers posttraumatic stress disorder from the AIDS pandemic…and how well people cope.” READ MORE

6/29/20: COVID-19 and Food Security: Crisis Within a Crisis (borgen magazine)

“In developing countries where people already deal with common diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and diarrhea, quality nutrition is vitally important. Worldwide, there were an estimated 150 million children suffering from malnutrition before COVID-19. Additional studies show that nutrition is vital to the successful functioning of one’s immune system, especially when combating COVID-19 and other diseases.” READ MORE

6/29/20: MOZAMBIQUE: Situation report (united nations office for coordination of humanitarian affairs)

“Prior to COVID-19, multiple disease outbreaks—including cholera and malaria—were already stretching Mozambique’s weak health systems and 94 health centers were damaged during the cyclones. Critical services—such as sexual and reproductive health care, immunization activities and continuity of care for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and cholera—are expected to be disrupted as resources shift to the COVID-19 response, potentially increasing maternal and infant deaths.” READ MORE

6/29/20: The real impact of COVID-19 on emerging markets (pharmaphorum)

“With scarce government resources channeled into testing and treatment of COVID-19, longstanding challenges such as tackling diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and AIDS are at risk of being neglected. Together with respiratory tract infections, these conditions normally account for more than 90% of deaths in emerging nations” READ MORE

6/29/20: COVID-19: Overcoming the challenge of community transmission (the cable – nigeria)

“A good number of gene-expert test machines that were previously being used to test for tuberculosis have now been converted to test for COVID-19 infections in some [Nigerian] government hospitals.” READ MORE

6/28/20: Canada pledges $300 million to address humanitarian concerns of COVID-19 abroad (canadian broadcasting corportion)

“International Development Minister of Canada Karina Gould has repeatedly stressed that Canadians’ safety is linked to the success of stamping out COVID-19 abroad, and that there can be no rolling back of existing spending, or else there could be new flare-ups of preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and malaria.” READ MORE

6/28/20: covid-19 could roll back gains made in hiv fight (the standard – kenya)

“Currently, [UNAIDS is] looking at two colliding pandemics, (HIV and COVID-19), and we are responding by giving advice to governments on their responses. In at least 11 countries UNAIDS is leading the UN system on the task force on COVID-19. We advise governments that the COVID-19 response must be multi-sectoral because a pandemic isn’t just a health issue.” READ MORE

6/26/20: Coronavirus accelerates in Africa as economic damage deepens (axios)

“If health care doesn’t continue to provide the essential gains that have been provided over the last decade, you could see as many as 10 times as many deaths from malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious disease causes as from COVID even in a large COVID outbreak, Tom Frieden, former CDC director, warns.” READ MORE

6/25/20: Death, debt and opportunity: cost of COVID-19 in Africa (Institute for security studies)

“With Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016, resources diverted from basic health care prompted increases in malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB and maternal mortality. If the same happens with COVID-19, then HIV, TB and malaria deaths may increase by up to 36% in Africa over five years.” READ MORE

6/25/20: Coronavirus fears leave pregnant papua new guinea women at risk despite nation’s low infection rate (abc news – australia)

“ChildFund said the treatment and management of the disease amid the coronavirus pandemic was a major concern. It is said some rural health facilities [in Papua New Guinea] had already halted some tuberculosis treatment services because staff lacked training on how to manage COVID-19 cases and tuberculosis had similar symptoms to coronavirus.” READ MORE

6/25/20: Mumbai can see flattening of COVID curve by mid-July, normalcy of life by August: Health expert (economic times – india)

“In the coming days, we are going to face another challenge for COVID-19 treatment as we will have patients suffering from fever due to malaria, dengue or other monsoon related diseases. And then, it will be more difficult to segregate COVID and non-COVID patients.” READ MORE

6/25/20: Germany ramps up its contribution to the HIV response with an extra €20 million to UNAIDS (unaids)

“Modelling suggests that an unmitigated six-month interruption of HIV services due to COVID-19 could double AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, setting the clock on AIDS-related deaths in the region back to 2008, and could increase new pediatric HIV infections by up to 162%.” READ MORE

6/25/20: Ensuring continuity of tuberculosis care during the covid-19 crisis (the british medical journal)

“Despite rising case numbers, many countries are now starting to ease lockdowns and restrictions. This will result in a large surge of people seeking care after weeks of deferring medical consultations. They will present with more advanced TB disease for two reasons: long delays in diagnosis of undiagnosed patients and interrupted treatment for those who had TB when lockdowns were imposed.” READ MORE

6/25/20: COVID-19 Could Cause a Shortage of HIV Meds This Summer (unaids)

“The UNAIDS report flagged six pharmaceutical ingredients that are in high demand for HIV generic meds and are at greater risk for shortages. UNAIDS recommends that governments and suppliers take steps now to ensure a steady supply of meds.” READ MORE

6/24/20: The pandemic could erase 20 years of progress against tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria, an NGO warns (the new york times)

“In low-income nations, the pandemic may erase 20 years of hard-fought progress against tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria, diseases that together claim more than 2.4 million lives each year.” READ MORE

6/24/20: Fight against malaria, TB and HIV hit as resources diverted to Covid-19, survey shows (The Daily telegraph – United Kingdom)

“The survey shows that HIV and TB laboratory services are under huge pressure, with 20 per cent experiencing high or very high levels of disruption with many now focused on testing for COVID-19.” READ MORE

6/24/20: Global Fund COVID-19 Report: Deaths from HIV, TB and Malaria Could Almost Double in 12 Months Unless Urgent Action is Taken (yahoo finance)

“[The Global Fund] estimates that approximately US$28.5 billion is required for the next 12 months to adapt HIV, TB and malaria programs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, to train and protect health workers, to reinforce systems for health so they do not collapse, and to respond to COVID-19 itself, particularly through testing, tracing and isolation and by providing treatments as they become available (this does not include the cost of a vaccine).” READ MORE

6/24/20: IdeaStream 2020 goes virtual (mirage news)

“Prior to the pandemic, the Hadley D. Sikes Lab had developed immunoassays using engineered binding proteins that successfully identified markers for malaria, tuberculosis, and dengue. Now they have applied that technology to develop a rapid COVID-19 diagnostic test. The paper-based tests would be easily administered by anyone, with results expected within 10 minutes.” READ MORE

6/24/20: Global Fund COVID-19 Report – Deaths From HIV, TB and Malaria Could Almost Double in 12 Months Unless Urgent Action Is Taken (all africa)

“The Global Fund estimates that countries affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria urgently need US$28.5 billion to protect the extraordinary progress achieved in the fight against the three diseases in the past two decades.” READ MORE

6/24/20: UNAIDS Executive Director sets out HIV/COVID-19 landscape at opening of PCB meeting (unaids)

“Even before COVID-19 [UNAIDS was] not on track to meet our targets for 2020. Now the COVID-19 crisis risks blowing us way off course. As a Joint Program, we must address the deeper challenges to recover from this crisis to beat both pandemics and foster safe, equitable and resilient societies,” [said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS].” READ MORE

6/23/20: Quarantine is key to stemming the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s not easy, says deputy health minister Joe Phaahla (daily maverick – south africa)

“The surge plan involves deploying 10,000 volunteers to screen 1.6 million households in the province, with 100 doctors working closely with 1,000 nurses in communities. Professional nurses will be assigned to community healthcare workers to support them. They are all being provided with equipment to also test blood pressure, TB and malaria.” READ MORE

6/23/20: National Budget 2020/21: Where Will Rwanda Spend The Money? (kt press)

“Dr. Ndagijimana said that a portion of the money [from the national budget] will go towards continuing awareness campaigns and prevention measures against the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic as well as treatment for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Some 61 billion [Rwandan francs] will go into sustaining the fight against malaria and other epidemic diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis.” READ MORE

6/23/20: Joining forces to prevent 1.4 million TB deaths (jakarta post – indonesia)

“It is estimated that globally, a three-month lockdown and a protracted 10-month restoration period could lead to an additional 6.3 million people falling ill with TB and an additional 1.4 million TB deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2025. This would result in a setback of at least five to eight years in the fight against TB, bringing global TB incidence and deaths to levels not seen since 2013 or 2016.” READ MORE

6/23/20: National Budget 2020/21: Where Will Rwanda Spend The Money? (kt press)

“Dr. Ndagijimana said that a portion of the money [from the national budget] will go towards continuing awareness campaigns and prevention measures against the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic as well as treatment for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Some 61 billion [Rwandan francs] will go into sustaining the fight against malaria and other epidemic diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis.” READ MORE

6/23/20: Indonesia children at risk as COVID-19 disrupts vaccination drive (al jazeera)

“More than 80 percent of inoculation programs in Indonesia have been disrupted by COVID-19, and the government says it is trying to get them back on track, with the health ministry advising provinces on how to continue vaccinating, safely. But even a brief pause in these essential programs could put millions of children’s lives at risk.” READ MORE

6/23/20: At ASM Microbe, White House’s Deborah Birx Urges COVID-19 Test Pooling and Community Outreach (360 dx)

“Deborah Birx: I have always found that if the community is informed about the science, and understands why it is important, the community will respond to that knowledge and stop pandemics. We’ve seen it with TB, HIV, malaria, and Ebola — an informed community is a protected community.” READ MORE

6/22/20: Poverty Dramatically Increases COVID-19 Death Risk, Researchers Say (voa news)

“’HIV-, TB- and malaria-related deaths over the next five years in high burden settings may be increased by up to 10, 20 and 36 respectively,’ Peter Winskill of Imperial College London said.” READ MORE

6/22/20: COVID-19 could affect the availability and cost of antiretroviral medicines, but the risks can be mitigated (unaids)

“The production of antiretroviral medicines has been affected by several factors. Air and sea transport is being severely curtailed, hampering the distribution of the raw materials and other products…that pharmaceutical companies need to manufacture the medicines. Physical distancing and lockdowns are also restricting the levels of human resources available in manufacturing facilities. The combined result of shortages of materials and workforces could lead to supply issues and pressure on prices in the coming months, with some of the regimens for first-line treatment and those for children projected to be the severest hit.” READ MORE

6/20/20: Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing In Containment Zones, Hospitals: ICMR To States (business world – india)

“Rapid antigen-based detection assays have been used successfully for early diagnosis of diseases like Malaria, Leishmania, viral and bacterial respiratory infections etc. Such tests can be used as point of care diagnostics in field settings and have minimal biosafety and biosecurity requirements. In view of this, [Indian Council of Medical Research] had been exploring alternate quick and reliable options for diagnosis of COVID-19.” READ MORE

6/20/20: Watch: ‘Stringent lockdowns alone are not the solution’ says WHO’s Soumya Swaminathan (Scroll – india)

“Apart from dealing with COVID-19, people are getting infected with other diseases. Babies are being born, children have to be immunized and antenatal care has to be provided. Tuberculosis hasn’t gone anywhere, and neither has malaria, it’s even more important now that we don’t forget about all of those things that have traditionally killed millions of people every year, particularly in the lower-income countries.” READ MORE


“In [South Africa], testing for TB decreased by 50%, from a weekly average of 49 109 tests during the 7 weeks pre-lockdown to an average of 24 620 during the 5-week level 5 lockdown period, and remained at this rate through level 4 lockdown. During the level 5 lockdown, there has been a 22% reduction in average weekly HIV-1 viral load testing (measured annually in people living with HIV to monitor HIV antiretroviral treatment) These decreases suggest possible treatment interruptions, and missed appointments due to patient fear of SARSCoV-2 infection and violating travel restrictions in the context of widespread security force excesses.” READ MORE

6/19/20: Coronavirus: Why renewed focus on excess mortality could pose a challenge for India (Scroll – india)

“National Health Mission data point to a significant disruption in health services, including for potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer and tuberculosis. These patients will have experienced a severe degeneration in their conditions, including those with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, tuberculosis and heart disease. The health outcomes of such patients could increase overall mortality.” READ MORE

6/19/20: Lockdown impacting on HIV prevention programme for adolescent girls and young women (daily maverick – south africa)

“Under Levels 5 and 4 of South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown regulations, adolescent girls and young women aged 14 to 24 years could not meet face-to-face in specially created safe spaces with counsellors, as part of a combination HIV intervention program. This [circumstance] has meant opportunities to encourage them to begin taking and adhering to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV were lost, putting them at higher risk of HIV infection.” READ MORE

6/19/20: The Latest: Portugal lashes out over EU virus restrictions (wboc news)

“RBM Partnership to End Malaria says there is an immediate need for another 105 million rapid testing kits for malaria this year. It says the COVID-19 pandemic and demand for testing kits and potential drugs is creating shortages and price increases of malaria testing kits and “active pharmaceutical ingredients” used in malaria medicines.” READ MORE

6/18/20: Welcoming early results on use of dexamethasone in sickest COVID-19 patients, WHO warns it’s ‘no cure-all’ (UN NEWS)

“While COVID-19 is touching every corner of the world, Mr. Tedros stressed the need to remain focused as well on essential public health concerns such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS.” READ MORE

6/18/20: Covid-19 remains on focus; Treatment of TB, AIDS, malaria and child health loses priority (the policy times)

“According to the reports of Stop TB Partnership, during the lockdown period, there has been a 10% increase in TB deaths which means 1.4 million excess deaths.” READ MORE

6/18/20: How Covid is making it tougher to tackle TB, AIDS, malaria and child health (the print – india)

“A six-month interruption to the supply of antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to more than half a million excess deaths from HIV in 2020 alone.” READ MORE

6/17/20: COVID-19 disrupts essential health services in fragile settings; risks reversing health gains (world health organization)

“The disruption of routine health care services for a prolonged period may have a devastating impact, including: a 20% reduction in life-saving vaccination coverage…and a 13% increase in childhood mortality. A similar situation was also observed during the 2014–2015 outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Africa where analyses suggested that the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures exceeded deaths that were directly attributable to Ebola virus disease.” READ MORE

6/17/20: The other infectious diseases spreading in the shadow of the pandemic (Vox)

“But as [immunization] campaigns are paused or cut back and as people miss routine care due to the coronavirus pandemic, [infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and polio] are getting a rare opportunity to come roaring back.” READ MORE

6/17/20: Understanding the Impact Of COVID-19 On Essential Medicine Supply Chains (Center for global development)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a number of challenges that have led to shortages and price hikes, and could potentially fuel an epidemic of fake and substandard medicines, including: severe supply chain blocks caused by significant decreases in air cargo capacity, sea freight, and transport logistics; export restrictions by supplier countries related to both COVID-specific commodities, the slowdown in production of medicines in affected countries.” READ MORE

6/17/20: Global Fund Survey: Majority of HIV, TB and Malaria Programs Face Disruptions as a Result of COVID-19 (the global fund)

“…Deaths from HIV, TB and malaria could as much as double in the coming years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, wiping out many years of hard-fought gains, unless we can urgently provide health workers with the training, resources and protective equipment they need to safely continue their work.” READ MORE

6/17/20: HIV patients fail to access ARVs (the herald – zimbabwe)

“Patients cannot afford the high cost of drugs in these COVID-19 times where supplies from pharmacies cost US $25.” READ MORE

6/16/20: Timely diagnosis is critical in healthcare (business daily)

“During this pandemic, there is a great need for policymakers in health to ensure that they strike a balance between the health response to COVID-19 with the need for continuous delivery of other health services such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, HIV, diabetes, respiratory illnesses like TB and other critical healthcare services amongst the entire population.” READ MORE

6/16/20: Compulsory licensing in COVID-19: Does it differ from the global HIV/AIDS pandemic? (times now – india)

“AbbVie voluntarily decided it would not enforce its global patent rights on Kaletra, [an antiretroviral approved for treatment of HIV], thus allowing countries to purchase generics of the drug if the drug is effective for COVID-19.” READ MORE

6/15/20: Virtual Hearing on the Impact of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa (united states house intelligence committee)

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Chairman Adam Schiff asked Amb. Thomas-Greenfield to explain how COVID-19 is affecting HIV and malaria around the world. Amb. Thomas-Greenfield noted that individuals have changed their health-seeking behavior to limit hospitals visits, even when ill. In addition, Amb. Thomas-Greenfield mentioned that “many HIV patients have been unable to retrieve their antiretroviral medications due to COVID. ” VIRTUAL HEARING

6/15/20: drc: covid-19 continues to spread, with potentially deadly secondary impacts (médecins sans frontières)

“Many people fear they will be infected with the virus by going to health facilities deemed under-equipped with [PPE], or they fear being isolated and stigmatized for a long time due to the delays in obtaining test results. This situation affects the care of sick people and the monitoring of their treatment, especially for conditions such as diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.” READ MORE

6/15/20: Covid-19 fuelling mother and child mortality rates (hindustan times – india)

“During the monsoons, there is a rise in malaria and vaccine-preventable diarrhea, pneumonia and measles, which are the biggest cause of under-5 deaths in India. If childhood vaccines are missed, [infant mortality rate], malnutrition and stunting will rise and prevent India from meeting its Sustainable Development Goal of bringing IMR down to 25 or less by 2030.” READ MORE

6/14/20: Health minister explains Uganda’s false COVID positives (the observer – uganda)

“The number of diagnosed and treated malaria cases [in Uganda] increased by 56 per cent between January and April 2020 compared to the same period last year.” READ MORE

6/13/20: Pandemic Perspective: What The 20 Poorest And Richest Countries Spend On Health Care (capital public radio)

“People will drastically reduce their use of very important measures that are available to address other causes of disease and mortality. They will stop getting immunized because they’re afraid to go to the clinic. They will stop getting more treatment for tuberculosis, malaria, [HIV] or other problems that are prevalent.” READ MORE

6/13/20: Reason for hope as Africa responds to the Covid 19 pandemic-research (independent online – south africa)

“It is estimated that about 769,000 people could die from malaria alone if funding and campaigns are suspended due to this COVID-19 pandemic.” READ MORE

6/13/20: Tata Trusts-backed India Health Fund to promote start-ups developing means to fight diseases like COVID-19 (businesss today – india)

“We were so far concentrating on malaria and tuberculosis and will soon work with the government agencies, national and international foundations and private corporations to raise funds targeting a corpus of about [20 billion rupees] in the coming years to invest in technologies related to infectious diseases like COVID-19. “READ MORE

6/12/20: History of insightful HIV research inspires neutron scattering approach to studying COVID-19 (oak ridge national laboratory)

“The protease enzymatic activity that enables HIV to reproduce…is the same replication mechanism employed by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Now, a team [of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory] has shifted the focus of the experimental approach they intended to use to study HIV to combat the new global threat.” READ MORE

6/12/20: Malaria May Still Be 2020’s Biggest Killer (Foreign policy)

“…Disruptions to malaria prevention and treatment caused by the coronavirus could see malaria deaths double this year. The increase alone—estimated at the worst case to be 369,000—would almost equal the current confirmed death toll of COVID-19. With peak malaria season rapidly approaching in major malaria-endemic countries, the window of time in which to avoid disaster is rapidly closing.” READ MORE

6/12/20: Service Members at 2 U.S. Embassies Aid in Protective Equipment Transfer (United states dept. of defense)

“Together, we are working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect people who are most vulnerable to contracting this disease and to preserve the advances Eswatini has made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.” READ MORE

6/11/20: Why South Africa’s coronavirus outbreak could be a ‘catalyst for transformation’ (national geographic)

“For years, South Africa’s public health-care sector has tried to integrate its relatively well-resourced but stand-alone HIV and TB programs with its under-resourced general health services. The coronavirus crisis could be a catalyst for this transformation.” READ MORE

6/11/20: Kenya’s Covid-19 death toll rises to 92 after 3 new fatalities (Daily nation – kenya)

“The Health ministry said it needed funds to manage cancer and hypertension, infectious diseases such as TB, epidemics such as malaria, and carry out immunization programmes.” READ MORE


“As the next few weeks are critical in controlling the spread of coronavirus as well as monsoon-induced communicable diseases, the [Odisha] Health Department will conduct a campaign for active surveillance against COVID-19, co-morbidities, TB, malaria and diarrhea,” READ MORE

6/11/20: Cost, benefits of fighting COVID-19 (Graphic – ghana)

“Models show that along with limiting COVID-19 deaths, moderate social distancing will also improve treatment of some diseases, such as, HIV, but reduce the effectiveness of other treatments, such as, those for malaria and tuberculosis.” READ MORE

6/10/20: Nigeria to cut healthcare spending by 40% despite coronavirus cases climbing (the guardian)

“Funding for local, primary healthcare services will be cut by more than 40% this year in a revised budget expected to be passed into law in the coming weeks. The proposed cuts could affect immunizations, childcare, maternal healthcare and family planning services.” READ MORE

6/10/20: People with HIV, TB have twice the risk of death from coronavirus, report finds (The globe and mail)

“Overall, people with HIV or TB had a two or three times higher risk of dying from the coronavirus, the report suggested. But [the report] cautioned that it is difficult to disentangle the various risk factors that can combine to affect deaths, especially those such as obesity and poverty, where data is lacking.” READ MORE | PRESENTATION

6/10/20: ‘Flying blind’: Doctors race to understand what COVID-19 means for people with HIV (stat news)

“Drs. Cachay and Shapiro are leading a team examining the records of people living with HIV who have also had COVID-19. They plan to add coronavirus antibody testing to upcoming patient appointments so they can include in their study people who had asymptomatic or mild cases of the disease without knowing they were sick. READ MORE

6/9/20: Covid-like pandemics cast shadow on developing medicines for children (Business Line – India)

“Pandemics like the coronavirus COVID-19 disrupt even basic services and supply of treatments for many diseases including HIV, malaria and TB, with a consequent impact on mortality and infection rates.” READ MORE

6/9/20: In Kenya, A Chance to See Communities Confront COVID-19 (LinkedIn)

“[Community health workers] integrate COVID-19 related health messages to their malaria briefings in their visits to communities [in Homa Bay].” READ MORE

6/8/20: Rural India and coronavirus: Non-COVID patients suffer as healthcare services disrupted (CNBC Tv18)

“Health experts have been pointing to the negative impact of lockdown and government’s narrow approach to divert all health resources on controlling COVID-19 on other diseases and illnesses, such as TB, AIDS, and malaria. TB in particular requires regular medication, constant follow-ups and diagnosis.” READ MORE

6/7/20: Coronavirus disrupts HIV prevention efforts in Africa (The east african)

“Health workers and sex workers…came up with creative ways to ensure registered HIV patients continue receiving drugs: Home deliveries using bikes, multi-month refills. But HIV testing, PrEP, drop-in centres for vulnerable groups and medical male circumcision, were scaled back and sometimes closed completely — all of which are vital in detecting and preventing new infections.” READ MORE

6/7/20: Key populations abandoned as COVID-19 crackdowns undo Africa’s HIV efforts (Daily Monitor – Uganda)

“Uganda’s ban on public gatherings ruled out health talks for sex workers, fisher folk and other at-risk groups. When transport was prohibited, except for cargo trucks, most organizations grounded their health outreach teams.” READ MORE

6/6/20: How The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Impacted International Research Programs: A Personal Perspective (FORBES)

“We have already been asked to make provision for dealing with a 25% decrease in our budget due to funding redirection. This will have the impact of closures of some of our clinics and not being able to reach as many people for HIV prevention and care services.” READ MORE

6/5/20: COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa Threatens HIV Population (BORGEN)

“They caution global COVID-19 relief teams working in [Sub-Saharan Africa] to prepare for higher morbidity and mortality rates due to the already HIV-endemic setting.” READ MORE

6/4/20: COVID-19: “It was never an option for us to drop our regular medical services” (Medecins sans frontieres)

“In our HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C and non-communicable disease projects in countries as diverse as South Africa, Ukraine, Pakistan and Cambodia, we have reduced routine consultations and distributed essential drugs to patients for longer periods (one to six months depending on the person’s health condition) so that they do not have to visit a health facility as often.” READ MORE

6/2/20: 6,000 children could die daily over Covid-19 impact (Daily nation – kenya)

“Global disruption of essential maternal and child health interventions such as immunization, family planning, birth and postnatal care could lead to an additional 1.2 million deaths of under-fives in just six months.” READ MORE

6/2/20: Coronavirus Crisis Update: South Africa’s Difficult Truth (Center for strategic & international studies)

“Professor Salim Abdool Karim…surveys acute vulnerabilities of those living with HIV and TB… [during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa].” READ MORE

6/2/20: Africa’s sick get sicker as serious ailments are ignored in Covid-19 pandemic (Business Day – South Africa)

“In South Africa, which has the world’s largest HIV epidemic and 300,000 people with tuberculosis, fear of the coronavirus has emptied hospitals. Although clinics remain open, the number tested for TB has dropped by half, and HIV testing is down a quarter since the national lockdown began on March 27.” READ MORE

6/2/20: Kenyans Living Beyond Their 60s, Shows Report (All Africa)

“…Gains in the fight against malaria may be reversed during this COVID-19 crisis due to an overall shortage of services, while prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, have also been affected.” READ MORE

6/2/20: Just 6 years after Ebola killed more than 11,000 people, West African nations are bracing for a coronavirus spike (Business Insider)

“”People get scared not to go to the different health centers. They maybe might not be suffering from COVID-19 itself — it might be malaria, it might be HIV, it might be tuberculosis— and sometimes you find out when they rush with the child to the hospital that sometimes it’s already late.” READ MORE

6/2/20: In Peru’s Amazon, the church fills COVID-19 aid void for indigenous people (The New Humanitarian)

“Indigenous people…are at particular risk because they already suffer from high rates of food insecurity and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes. [Indigenous people] are also affected by tuberculosis and tropical diseases like malaria and dengue. A severe outbreak of dengue last year strained the resources of hospitals in Peru’s Amazonian region, and there are still cases in some communities that must now deal with COVID-19.” READ MORE

6/1/20: HIV burden makes Homa Bay vulnerable to Covid-19, says MP (The Star – Kenya)

“MP Martin Owino said HIV patients are immuno-suppressed and could lose their lives should they contract the coronavirus.” READ MORE

6/1/20: Lockdown worsens plight of HIV, tuberculosis patients (DAILY MONITOR – UGANDA)

“Coronavirus has worsened the plight of people living with HIV/AIDS. Hunger has led to poor adherence to treatment. We have a number of patients who are in dire need.” READ MORE

6/1/20: India is Reporting Lesser Tuberculosis Deaths Owing to Diversion of Resources to COVID-19 Mitigation Programs (The New Leam)

“During the lockdown, reporting and documenting of deaths related to TB has been on a decline and this has not allowed us to [assess the] real extent of the problem. This lag in data collection and assimilation [is] to be blamed as one of the core reasons why there seems to be a steady decrease in the number of tuberculosis related deaths.” READ MORE

May 2020: Focus on COVID-19 (The Global Fund)

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens us all and could destroy years of progress against HIV, TB and malaria.” READ MORE

5/31/20: HIV Cure Research Has Slowed, But Still Progresses (Contagion)

“Scientists conducting research on an HIV vaccine cure…have been repurposed and put to work researching promising therapies and vaccine candidates for the novel coronavirus. I don’t see much happening [with HIV research] until we get the COVID-19 [vaccine]” READ MORE

5/27/20: Continuing essential service delivery in a pandemic: HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria solutions in action (PATH)

“HIV, TB, and malaria service delivery platforms are being leveraged to support the COVID-19 response while mitigating its impact on delivery of essential health services and protecting frontline health care providers.” READ MORE

5/27/20: Coronavirus hampers Africa’s fight against malaria, TB (Deutsche Welle)

“African countries have imposed tough measures against COVID-19. But it may come at the cost of other untreated diseases such as malaria and AIDS.” READ MORE

5/21/20: How coronavirus lockdowns stopped flu in its tracks (Nature)

“The international organization the Stop TB Partnership released a report in May estimating that a 3-month lockdown and a 10-month period of recovery would cause an additional 1.37 million deaths [from TB] globally during the next 5 years.” READ MORE

5/21/20: Lockdown Fears for Key Populations (The Lancet HIV)

“With much of the world’s population under COVID-19 lockdown, curfews, and travel restrictions, access to HIV testing and treatment services is a significant concern for people with HIV and those who provide care.” READ MORE

5/21/20: Uganda women fear food shortages will make coronavirus and HIV a deadly mix (Thomas Reuters Foundation)

“HIV-positive women in Uganda fear for their health as food shortages leave them unable to take medication.” READ MORE

5/21/20: WHO Predicts COVID-19 Will Take Heavy Toll in Africa (US News)

“[COVID-19] related increases in hospital care would divert already scarce resources for major health problems in Africa — such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and malnutrition — which would worsen the impact of the new coronavirus, the study warns.” READ MORE

5/20/20: COVID-19 & PEPFAR: Implications for the Future (KFF)

“COVID-19 has the potential to deeply impact PEPFAR countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and, as such, affect PEPFAR’s future trajectory.” READ MORE

5/20/20: How Have Organizations Adapted Their HIV Interventions During COVID-19? (Frontline AIDS)

“Together with experts from across the Frontline AIDS partnership we explored the changing needs of marginalised people, followed by a live discussion with people from communities affected by the pandemic.” READ MORE

5/20/20: COVID-19: Lockdown takes heavy toll on SA’s TB response (Spotlight)

“As South Africa nears day 55 of its COVID-19 lockdown, a new modelling study by the Stop TB Partnership suggests that the longer countries spend under lockdown, the more tuberculosis (TB) cases and deaths the world could see.” READ MORE

5/19/20: Almost 11,000 HIV-positive patients in Gauteng, South Africa have skipped ARV collection during lockdown (Sowetan Live)

“The Gauteng health department on Tuesday said it was trying to trace thousands of TB and HIV-positive patients who have failed to collect their medication since the start of the lockdown on March 27 2020.” READ MORE

5/19/20: The high possible cost of COVID-19 on new HIV infections among children (UNAIDS)

New modeling has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic could have a major impact on new HIV infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa.” READ MORE

5/17/20: COVID-19 Outbreak in Nigeria Is Just One of Africa’s Alarming Hot Spots (New York Times)

“Dozens of doctors are infected and gravediggers are overwhelmed in Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city, where inaction led to an unchecked outbreak. Across Africa, other hot spots are emerging.” READ MORE

5/17/20: Leading South Africa Health Experts Warn That COVID-19 Response is Hurting Other Health Priorities (GroundUp)

“Children are suffering increasingly from preventable infectious diseases, including TB and measles, due to missed vaccinations.” READ MORE

5/16/20: Over 145 TB patients die in Agra without treatment during lockdown (India Today)

“Over 145 tuberculosis patients have died in the past 54 days in Agra. The toll is more than six times the usual number of deaths from TB in the city.” READ MORE

5/14/20: COVID-19 likely to undo HIV/AIDS Gains (Daily Nation)

KENYA – “Due to stigma, many HIV clients choose to register for ARVs at public facilities that are far from their areas of residence. A number of health facilities have recorded a drastic reduction in the number of people showing up to collect their drug supplies.” READ MORE

5/12/20: Is COVID-19 making it harder to treat other diseases in Africa? (Al Jazeera)

“The coronavirus pandemic is putting enormous strain on health systems worldwide. In some countries, that means resources are being diverted from other treatments. Patients with illnesses such as HIV, tuberculosis or malaria risk having their treatment interrupted.” READ MORE

5/12/20: Watch: UNAIDS director warns of ‘colliding epidemics’ (Devex)

“Saying “the virus has found a very unequal world,” UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima warned that COVID-19 will hurt the most vulnerable, including people living with HIV.” READ MORE

5/11/20: AIDS, TB And Malaria Set To Get Deadlier Due To Coronavirus (Forbes)

“The ‘Big Three’ are predicted to get bigger. AIDS, TB and malaria are predicted to kill many more in the coming months and years. COVID-19 could potentially double the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 when compared with 2018.” READ MORE

5/11/20: AIDs deaths could double in sub-Saharan Africa due to COVID-19 (RFI)

“The number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa could double if the provision of healthcare to HIV sufferers is disrupted during the coronavirus crisis, the United Nations said Monday.” READ MORE

5/10/20: Impact of COVID-19 Intervention on TB Testing in South Africa (National Institute for Communicable Diseases – South Africa)

“The COVID-19 level 5 restrictions has resulted in a ~ 48% average weekly decrease in TB Xpert testing volumes while, the number of TB positive declined by 33%.” READ MORE

5/8/20: Coronavirus pandemic could contribute to surge of other deadly diseases, experts warn (CNN)

“Cases of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases could surge worldwide in coming months as global health systems rally to battle the coronavirus pandemic, global health experts tell CNN.” READ MORE