BackgroundPolicies implemented to slow transmission of COVID-19 are expected to have disrupted delivery of routine health services, including tuberculosis (TB) care.
MethodsWe analyzed daily counts of drug-susceptible (DS)-TB case notifications from all health facilities affiliated with the Philippines National TB Program (NTP) before and after implementation of community quarantine (January 1-December 31, 2020). Using an interrupted time series design, we assessed the immediate and sustained effects of community quarantine on TB case reporting. Using 2019 WHO estimates of national TB incidence, treatment, and mortality rates for the Philippines, we modeled excess mortality from TB, assuming a national decline in TB case reporting were extended for 12 months, followed by a return to pre-community quarantine trends.
ResultsThe analysis included 192,918 DS-TB case notifications from 2,986 facilities located in 113 provinces and highly urbanized cities across 17 regions and covered 49 observations days before and 174 days after community quarantine implementation. We found an significant drop and steeper decline in daily TB case notifications after the implementation of community quarantine, resulting in 44.6% (95% CI 38.3-50.1) fewer daily TB case notifications 60 days after implementation of community quarantine. During 2020, DS-TB case notifications never returned to pre-quarantine levels. Assuming a 12-month disruption of TB case reporting, we estimate there will be 56.3% increase in TB-related deaths in the Philippines.
ConclusionModified delivery of TB prevention and care should be prioritized alongside efforts to combat COVID-19.