The COVID-19 pandemic and response measures, including lockdowns and the reorientation of health services, have disrupted essential health services for other diseases, including TB, HIV and malaria. For TB, reductions in case detection due to the COVID-19 pandemic are projected to result in increased TB transmission, morbidity and mortality. Active case-finding (ACF) for TB using community-based approaches is a potential strategy to offset reductions in TB detection by obviating the need for patients to seek care at a health facility. A number of approaches can be used to conduct TB ACF safely and screen designated target populations while managing the risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission for staff, individuals and the community. We present a framework of options for and experience of adapting TB ACF services in response to the challenges of COVID-19 in our programme in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Key changes have included revised prioritisation of target populations focusing on household contacts, reducing case-finding throughput, implementation of additional infection control measures and precautions, and integration of COVID-19 screening among those being screened for TB. Our approach could inform other programmes seeking to adapt TB ACF services to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on TB case detection.
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The authors would like thank the Stop TB Partnership which has funded our TB
active case-finding project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, through the TB Reach funding mechanism; the Dinas Kesehatan for Yogyakarta Province and for Kota Yogyakarta and Kulon Progo Districts.