25. Oct 2019

Guide fills gap in care of people with diabetes and TB

Gwendolyn Carleton
The 99-page guide targets health workers responsible for the diagnosis, management and care of patients with both diseases.
Manuella Maripa was among those benefitting from the rollout of new diabetes-TB guidelines in Zimbabwe. Now, the guidelines are available to all.

Diabetes triples the risk of developing tuberculosis. The increasing prevalence of diabetes is therefore threatening a resurgence of tuberculosis, unless action is taken.

A guide with practical information, including training for frontline health care workers, is here to help. Management of Diabetes Mellitus-Tuberculosis – A Guide to the Essential Practice 2019, was launched earlier this year by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) with support from WDF.English, French and Chinese versions are available on The Union’s website.

Print versions will be distributed at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, 30 Oct-2 Nov in Hyderabad, in the Union Village (The Union’s booth in the exhibition hall).

Increasing health worker knowledge 

WHO and The Union launched the Collaborative Framework for the Care and Control of Tuberculosis and Diabetes in 2011 with support from WDF. It targeted policy makers and health professionals, and spurred a number of countries to implement collaborative activities between TB and Diabetes/NCD programs, including bi-directional screening. However, it lacked practical information for roll out, including training for frontline health care workers. 

More than 79% of diabetes patients and 95% of TB patients live in low- and middle-income countries, where many medical professionals and public health workers are unable to access or read scientific journals. 

“Increasing health worker knowledge about management of diabetes and TB is a critical component in improving patient care and outcomes,” says Dr Anil Kapur, Chairman of the World Diabetes Foundation.

The Union set out to fill this knowledge gap, with WDF support. Management of Diabetes Mellitus-Tuberculosis – A Guide to the Essential Practice was developed over several years and piloted in Pakistan and Zimbabwe. See a short film about the Zimbabwe pilot. 

At the launch of the Chinese version of the guide this summer, Professor Lin Yan, Senior Advisor to The Union and a driving force behind the project, said: 

“As a technical guide, this resource will have a long-standing influence. I hope it will become a useful tool for any health worker dealing with the two diseases.”

It is off to a good start: the guide has been downloaded more than 2000 times from The Union’s website since its release earlier this year.

Learn more:

To effectively control TB, we must consider TB’s co-morbidities, June 2019

New Union technical guide for the co-management of diabetes mellitus-tuberculosis published, Jan 2019