Nutrition

Scoping meeting for the development of guidelines on nutritional/food support to prevent TB and improve health status among TB patients

2-4 November 2009, Geneva, Switzerland

Background

Undernutrition is a well-established risk factor for TB. It is clear that improved nutritional status at population level can have significant impact on TB morbidity and mortality. However, there is no wide agreement on the value of nutritional/food support as a part of the treatment and case-management strategies for people with active TB, or latent TB infection.

The opinions and practices concerning nutritional/food support as a part of the TB treatment package vary widely across national TB programmes, partner organizations engaged in TB control implementation, and clinicians. These groups are requesting guidance from WHO and other partner agencies on the value, type and operational aspects of nutritional/food support.

However, there are no internationally agreed guidelines on nutritional/food support to TB patients, nor on how national TB programmes can contribute to improved population nutrition status.

In addition, there is a close relationship between TB and HIV in many countries with HIV driving the TB epidemic and TB seriously impacting on the health of people living with HIV. Nutrition and food security play an important role in people’s vulnerability to both diseases. Furthermore HIV and TB programmes often face the same challenges in delivering nutritional support.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to develop such guidelines, following WHO Guideline Review Committee (GRC) guidance. The above mentioned meeting is the first step in that direction.

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