This course is intended as a refresher course for physicians (both in the public sector and private practice) who may be involved in the management and care of patients with TB. The audience for the course includes internists, family practice physicians and specialists (pulmonary and infectious disease) in public health as well as in the private sector. Though physicians are the primary audience for this course, nurses and other members of the health care team may also find the information useful.
The course is based on the International Standards for Tuberculosis Care, 3rd Edition (ISTC), which presents a set of widely-accepted, evidence-based standards that all practitioners, public and private, should seek to achieve. The ISTC lays out standards for care and treatment of TB patients that apply to all countries and settings. The course also refers to and is consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines and recommendations for TB control.
Consistent with the ISTC, this course emphasizes general principles and standards and is intended for use in multiple countries and regions. Because this course covers a very broad audience geographically and professionally, it would be difficult to create one comprehensive source of information that also provides specific country-level details and guidance for all readers. Therefore, this course is not intended to be a complete source of information on TB, but rather a refresher course, reviewing basic TB management principles and covering a wide array of subjects relevant to physicians, using a didactic approach and incorporating specific learning objectives. Physicians should refer to the guidelines and policies within their country for specific national recommendations and procedures.
Adequate care for patients with TB is the major determinant of the effectiveness of TB control programs: control cannot be adequate if care is not adequate. For this reason, as well as the concern for the welfare of individual patients, all care providers should be committed to ensuring that TB services in their jurisdictions are of the highest possible quality within the limits of local circumstances. The information compiled in this course is aimed at assisting physicians in delivering high quality, effective care when diagnosing, treating and managing TB patients and thereby reducing the overall burden of TB.