EHS-COVID (515) WHO: Tuberculosis deaths rise (5) Impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis in children

19 January, 2022

Several weeks ago we learned from WHO about a rise in tuberculosis deaths during the pandemic, and we heard from HIFA member Chiabi Bernard Ful, Cameroon about the challenges of tuberculosis control in his country

Below is a selected extract that gives further information on the impact of COVID-19 on tuberculosis in children.

CITATION: What is the global burden of tuberculosis among children?

Anna Cristina C Carvalho, Afrânio L Kritski

Lancet Global Health, Comment| volume 10, issue 2, e159-e160, february 01, 2022

Published:December 08, 2021 DOI:


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an 18% reduction in the number of new tuberculosis cases reported, reduced access to tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, and an increase in the estimated number of tuberculosis deaths (more than 1·5 million in 2020). The economic consequences of the pandemic have generated more poverty and inequality, which could directly increase malnutrition rates in children and, consequently, the risk of tuberculosis in this age group. BCG vaccine coverage in many countries was severely affected by the COVID -19 pandemic. A 50% drop in BCG vaccination was observed in some areas. Therefore, the real effect of COVID -19 pandemic on tuberculosis incidence, case detection rates, treatment outcomes, and mortality among children will need to be better assessed in the coming years...

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,