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

The guide, developed in partnership with the World Diabetes Foundation, provides essential information for frontline health professionals for the management and care of people with both diabetes mellitus and tuberculosis (DM-TB).

Diabetes reduces immune function and increases a person’s risk of developing TB by three-fold. The rapidly growing epidemic of diabetes in low- and middle-income countries threatens TB care and prevention efforts and makes treatment for both diseases more complicated and less successful. This guide serves as a resource for those caring for people with DM-TB.

Recommendations in this guide draw on evidence from published research, expert opinion and practical experience. Dr Riitta Dlodlo, Director of The Union’s Department of TB and HIV, said, “We hope the guide provides a useful and practical resource for frontline health workers at all levels of health services. Our aim is to help achieve the End TB Strategy targets and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for both ending the TB epidemic and reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases.”

In a recent message to mark World Diabetes Day, José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union pressed for a coordinated approach globally, where countries act against both diseases in an integrated way. He said, “We know that we cannot fight TB in isolation; to end TB we must also fight the co-epidemics that cause the most harm.”

The Union and the World Health Organization launched a ‘Collaborative framework for care and control of tuberculosis and diabetes’ in 2011 to guide national programmes, clinicians and others in establishing a coordinated response to both diseases at the organisational and clinical levels. This new resource will assist the health workers with the clinical management and care for people with DM-TB.

The immediate beneficiaries are frontline health professionals in low- and middle-income countries working in TB services, diabetes and non-communicable disease clinics and in primary health care facilities where services may be more integrated. 

Management of Diabetes Mellitus-Tuberculosis: A Guide to the Essential Practice is presently available in English, and will soon be available in French and Chinese.

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