WHO and ILO join forces to release new guidance on social protection for people affected by TB

The guidance includes approaches to expanding the coverage, quality and impact of existing social protection programs to people affected by TB.

20 May 2024 | Geneva -- The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) have launched new guidance on social protection for people affected by tuberculosis (TB).

The guidance includes approaches to expanding the coverage, quality and impact of existing social protection programmes to people affected by tuberculosis (TB), and to designing bespoke approaches where needed, towards ensuring that social protection benefits fully meet the needs of people affected by TB. The guidance provides TB programme managers and staff, staff in ministries responsible for health and social protection, and other stakeholders, with the scientific and operational knowledge for multisectoral action to address the social determinants of TB, and ultimately contribute to ending TB.

Social protection is a human right and a well-acknowledged area of investment to strengthen TB prevention, care and support. Evidence shows that higher investments of countries in social protection correlate with lower TB incidence, prevalence and mortality. Similarly, expanding social protection coverage among people affected by TB contributes to improving treatment success and to eliminating catastrophic costs at household level. Conversely, by effectively covering people affected by TB, social protection systems increase their inclusiveness and their impact on health and wellbeing.

Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme emphasised, “Providing social protection to all people affected by TB can have profound positive effects in the TB epidemic by improving treatment outcomes, eliminating the catastrophic costs associated with diagnosis and adherence to treatment, and TB- associated disabilities”.

The critical role of social protection in the response to TB was emphasised at the 2023 United Nations High-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis, during which Member States pledged to ensure that all people with TB have access to a comprehensive package of health and social benefits by 2027.

Dr Shahra Razavi, the director of the Universal Social Protection Department at ILO calls for urgency in responding to the evidence: “The evidence on the positive impact of social protection on treatment success and elimination of catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditures is compelling and should drive action to urgently extend the right to social protection to all, including people affected by TB”.

To build capacity among key stakeholders on social protection for people affected by TB, WHO has also launched a self-paced, free of charge, online course, entitled “Social Protection for people affected with TB: An Introduction.” The course introduces the concept of social protection, its role in ending the TB epidemic, the different forms of social protection, and the evidence for the impact on TB. The e-course has been added to WHO’s End TB Channel in OpenWHO. Learners need to register on OpenWHO.org to access the course. Watch a short introductory video on the eCourse here.

Source: WHO

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By World Health Organization, International Labour Organization

Published: May 20, 2024, 8:26 p.m.

Last updated: May 22, 2024, 7:40 p.m.

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