Integrating TB Screening Into COVID-19 Screening Clinics In Burma

Speeches Shim

Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

September 2020

According to an analysis by Burma’s National TB Program, there was a 40-percent decrease in the number of detected TB cases in April 2020 compared to last year. Due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, health services, including about 50 percent of General Practice clinics, had to slow down to almost a complete stop. TB mobile case-finding activities stopped, and people were also reluctant to go to the health facilities.

“The situation was worrisome,” said Dr. Than Than Htay, a project officer of the Myanmar Anti-TB Association, one of the implementing partners of the Access to Health TB project. “If we could no longer detect TB cases and provide treatment, the [spread of disease] will rise and become uncontrollable.”

Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To fill this health care and COVID-19 screening gap, the Ministry of Health and Sports started operating community fever clinics in different townships, where they not only provided primary care and screening for COVID-19, but also identified TB patients.

Yangon has the highest drug-susceptible (DS-TB) and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) burden in Burma, accounting for 25 percent of DS-TB cases and 50 percent of DR-TB cases nationally. In order to continue essential TB services in Yangon, USAID supported TB case-finding services integrated into the fever clinics by using mobile X-Ray vans through USAID’s Access to Health project. In April, at the Insein Township Fever Clinic of Yangon Region, these efforts yielded 20 new TB cases during COVID-19 screenings.

Dr. Htay highlighted, “COVID-19 stopped our mobile TB clinics, but we grabbed the opportunity to link with these fever clinics and continue services to protect communities from TB.”

Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Health workers and clients from the clinics follow the social distancing guidelines, wear PPE, and provide handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last updated: September 15, 2020

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