The Fight Against Tuberculosis Under the Influence of Covid-19

A number of tuberculosis experts say that when people paid more attention to the covid-19 epidemic, the fight against tuberculosis weakened and the number of its patients increased.

Hajar Jafari
26 Mar 2023
The Fight Against Tuberculosis Under the Influence of Covid-19

According to the report of the World Health Organization, only in Afghanistan, about 75,000 people are infected with tuberculosis every year.

The officials in the Ministry of Public Health confirmed this report and added that in the years 2021 to 2022, this number has increased by 3 percent.


Dr. Sharafat Zaman, the spokesman of the Ministry of Public Health, says: “According to the report of the World Health Organization, around 75,000 people are infected with tuberculosis every year in Afghanistan, and unfortunately, this number has increased by 3 percent in 2021 to 2022.”

According to Sharafat Zaman, 56 percent of tuberculosis patients in Afghanistan are women and 44 percent are men and children.


On the other hand, Abdulhudud Haidari, an infectious disease specialist at the Afghan Japan Hospital and the head of the tuberculosis department of this hospital, says that during the covid-19 epidemic, most of the treatment centers were dedicated to corona patients and attention of the Ministry of Health was also directed to the coronavirus, so that a halt came in the process of fighting Tuberculosis.

Afghan Japan Infectious Disease Hospital, which is the only specialized center for the treatment of tuberculosis in the country, with the covid-19 epidemic, the services of this hospital were dedicated to the treatment of covid-19 patients. This caused a halt in the provision of tuberculosis services.”

Also, Dr. Sayed Ali Laali, one of the doctors of the Afghan Japan Hospital’s tuberculosis department, confirms that the Covid-19 virus has caused the biggest damage to the tuberculosis control program.

From 2011 to 2015, only 277 cases of resistant tuberculosis were discovered, but after the spread of covid-19 in our country, we have more than a hundred cases of resistant tuberculosis every year. Among the 60 to 70 daily patients, about 25 to 30 of them are diagnosed with tuberculosis.”


Don’t think only about Corona

A number of people say that they have confused tuberculosis with corona. When they get this disease without going to health centers, they thought that they are infected with Corona.

Noor Zia, whose two daughters were infected with this disease, said that she did not think that her children had tuberculosis, that’s why she did not treat tuberculosis at first, and now both her daughters are struggling with this disease.

I didn’t take them to the hospital because I was afraid of the coronavirus. I didn’t even notice at first, but when they started to feel worse, I took my daughters to the hospital. The doctors said it was tuberculosis.”

However, Dr. Abdulhudud Haidari says that covid-19 and Tuberculosis are different from the point of view of the biological structure and course of the disease in the body, but of their appearance, both affect the respiratory system almost in the same way.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease and requires continuous treatment, but covid-19 is a viral disease, its treatment is possible by adapting the vaccine, and may not require long-term treatment. In terms of course, the coronavirus spreads very quickly in the body, but tuberculosis grows slowly in the body.”


The effects of the corona vaccine

A number of citizens believe that the corona vaccine strengthens tuberculosis, but the health authorities do not confirm this belief.


Ahmad Wali, one of the Kabul residents, says that he did not get the corona vaccine, because this vaccine causes the aggravation of tuberculosis disease.


I myself will never vaccinate against Covid-19 and I will not allow my family to vaccinate either, because this vaccine causes the severity of tuberculosis.”

However, the experts do not confirm this belief but say that for people who have experienced Covid-19, their body immunity decreases and they become more vulnerable to other diseases. So, the corona vaccine is useful for everyone, because it increases the body’s immunity against diseases.

Haidari says that those who have already passed tuberculosis or passing tuberculosis, when they get infected with Covid-19, are severely damaged.

“Those who have been vaccinated, if they get infected with covid-19 for the second time, it will be slight and they will not be affected much. If corona causes tuberculosis severity, then it is better for people to take the corona vaccine.”


Tuberculosis growth environment

Although a number of citizens in cold regions think that microbes grow less in cold environments, some health officials say that tuberculosis will remain the same in cold and hot regions, it grows in places with no hygiene.


Jahan, the woman who is suffering from tuberculosis, says that she came from a cold region to the Afghan Japan hospital for treatment.

“I have been suffering from tuberculosis for six months. I had no idea that I was suffering from tuberculosis. I went to health centers several times, but they could not diagnose it correctly.”

But some experts say that tuberculosis is a contagious disease and it has infected more people in cold and humid places.

Dr. Seyed Ali Laali says: “Tuberculosis is more common in cold and humid areas because tuberculosis bacteria are more resistant in a cold environment than in warm environments, which can survive for several years even in cold areas.”


Tuberculosis symptoms

Doctors describe the symptoms of tuberculosis as chronic cough with ” Oral Mucosa ” full of blood, fever, sweat during the night, and weight loss.

Abdulhudud Haidari, a tuberculosis specialist, says: “Coughing for more than two or three weeks with Oral Mucosa full of blood, shortness of breath, chest pains, sweating during the night, weight loss, loss of appetite, and pain in all parts of the body, are the symptoms and signs of tuberculosis.”

Doctors emphasize that the best way to deal with tuberculosis is early and timely diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

At the same time, they say that the BCG vaccine is used in many countries to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, especially among children.

According to doctors, staying away from people with tuberculosis and maintaining good hygiene are other useful measures to prevent this disease.

Apart from this, Haidari also added in this context that speed in treating a patient plays a fundamental role in preventing its spread.

“The sooner a case of tuberculosis is detected and treated immediately, the better it can be prevented from spreading.”


Inactive tuberculosis

According to doctors, one-third of the world’s population is suffering from inactive tuberculosis, which can be activated by some events during life.

Health officials say that global research on tuberculosis has shown that about a third of the world’s population is infected with Micro-Tuberculosis, and a new infection occurs in the world every second.

At the same time, they say that many Mycobacterium infections do not lead to tuberculosis. Also, Tuberculosis is the second deadliest infectious disease in the world after HIV (AIDS).

At the same time, studies have shown that men are more affected by tuberculosis than women, but the reality is different in Afghanistan.


Dr. Sayed Ali Laali says: “In Afghanistan, most women are suffering from this disease. Maybe the reason is an unhealthy diet and contact with the environment polluted by smoke and dust.”

Also, Dr. Sharafat Zaman says that 56 percent of the tuberculosis patients in Afghanistan are women.

In addition, the Covid-19 epidemic in Afghanistan has caused hospitals and doctors to deal more with these patients and the fight against tuberculosis has come to a halt.

It should be mentioned that according to the annual report of the World Health Organization, the prevalence of tuberculosis is lower in rich countries, but actually, the number of people suffering from this disease is high in poor countries.

Translated by: Sadaf  Yarmal


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