The World Health Organization has just issued updated WHO guidelines on TB infection prevention and control. These guidelines outline a new evidence-based framework that promotes the implementation of an integrated package of Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) interventions based on administrative, engineering, and respiratory protection controls. This will contribute to cutting transmission and reducing the burden of TB illness and death to reach the global targets of the End TB Strategy and the political declaration of the UN High Level meeting on TB.
“Infection prevention and control is one of the most important tools in our arsenal to halt the spread of the TB epidemic,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme. “One quarter of the world’s population is estimated to have TB infection and are at risk of developing active TB disease during their lifetime, and 10 million people fall ill with TB each year, to break the curve of the epidemic we urgently need all stakeholders including policymakers, implementers and donors, across sectors to accelerate action and continue mobilising resources to improve prevention strategies, including TB infection prevention and control”.
The updated recommendations present an opportunity for countries and key stakeholders to continue to build or expand their infection prevention and control capacity. To support this process, the End TB Transmission Initiative (ETTi) will assist countries through the development of a TB infection prevention and control implementation manual to be launched following the release of these guidelines. Dr Carrie Tudor, ETTi Chair and TB Project Director within the International Council of Nurses, said “the implementation manual will assist countries to operationalise the updated WHO recommendations through case studies and best practice examples to strengthen their IPC programmes to decrease TB transmission and contribute to the global targets to end TB”.
The update of these guidelines was achieved through collaboration with an international panel of experts on infection prevention and control and representatives of affected communities. In addition, in the broader context of infection control, these guidelines link up with existing WHO framework of recommendations and good practice, IPC Core Components, to help countries prevent and address current and future threats as they strengthen IPC capacity at all levels of care.
Prof Benedetta Allegranzi, Coordinator, WHO Infection Prevention and Control Global Unit, said that “proper adoption and implementation of infection prevention and control measures can help hinder transmission, but to do so, it is required for programmes at the national and local level to have a system change, improving infrastructure and practices at the point of care.”
WHO urges countries to implement the recommended package of comprehensive interventions infection prevention and control, ensuring secured and sustainable resources.
The target audience for these guidelines includes national and subnational policymakers; frontline health workers; health system managers for TB, HIV and highly prevalent noncommunicable disease programmes; managers of IPC services in inpatient and outpatient facilities; managers of congregate settings and penitentiary facilities; occupational health officials; and other key TB stakeholders.
Access the guidelines here.