Jayasree K. Iyer discusses COVID-19 and its impact on progress against HIV, TB and malaria
In this episode of Toronto-based Cited podcast, Access to Medicine Foundation Executive Director Jayasree K. Iyer joins the show to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the existing global health landscape.
One of three guests invited to the episode, Jayasree K. Iyer joins the podcast 25 minutes in to discuss the impact that COVID-19 has already had on existing progress made on HIV, TB and malaria. In describing the consequences of the pandemic, she points to medicine and material supply chain disruptions, closing of borders, and an overarching shift of focus from existing health crises in low- and middle-income countries to treating patients of the novel coronavirus.
Elaborating on the ways the pandemic as already affected vulnerable communities, she says:
"In countries like South Africa, which has the world’s largest HIV epidemic and about 300,000 people live with tuberculosis right now, the fear of coronavirus has emptied out hospitals. While clinics remain open in the best of their capacity, the number of people that come in and get tested for TB has been dropping by half. HIV testing is down by a quarter since the national lockdown began on March 27th. ... The consequences are extremely catastrophic. All the things that we've done so far are really being threatened by what you see with COVID."