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The Union shares mid-term report on impact of COVID-19 on people with TB and HIV/AIDS in Africa

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The Union’s Centre for Operational Research has made publicly available the mid-term report of the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis (TB) case detection and treatment and HIV testing, diagnosis and care in the capital cities of Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In April 2020, The Union worked with the national TB and national HIV/AIDS programmes in Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR) in Geneva and Vital Strategies in USA to develop the protocol for this work. The protocol was then posted on The Union Website in August so that other researchers and national programmes could use and adapt it for their needs in order to enable similar work to be carried out in other countries.

The project actually started in May 2020. With agreement from Vital Strategies, the sponsor of the study, The Union is now posting its Mid-term Report on the website. Two analyses are presented. First, a direct comparison of 6-month aggregate TB and HIV numbers between March and August 2019 (the Pre-COVID-19 period) and between March and August 2020 (the COVID-19 period). Second, the trends in key TB and HIV numbers in the COVID-19 period related to interventions designed to mitigate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on TB and HIV services.

In summary, all three African cities (Nairobi, Lilongwe and Harare) have seen a marked decline in TB case finding and HIV testing during the first six-months of the COVID-19 outbreak compared with a similar period of time the year before. TB treatment success has decreased and this has largely been due to an increase in patients “not being evaluated”. Referrals for antiretroviral therapy have not been affected. The three cities have had mixed success in mitigating the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, the country coordinators will continue to work with their teams and partners to collect and validate data from the selected health facilities. They will continue to engage with the disease programme directors over the next five months to assess whether they can improve the situation.

In conclusion, we thank Vital Strategies and RESOLVE most sincerely for the financial support which has made this operational research study feasible to implement

For questions or additional information, please contact Professor Anthony D Harries at

The Union’s Centre for Operational Research enhances the operational research capacity of low- and middle-income countries that are overburdened with serious communicable disease epidemics, and growing epidemics of non-communicable diseases.