The World Conference welcomes the vital role of nurses in TB care and treatment


The 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health will see a focus on the role played by nurses in the care and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) patients around the world. The conference features the launch of a newly updated Best Practice Guide for the Care of TB Patients, as well as a dedicated nursing discussion session and roadmap of nursing related sessions.

“Scientists and researchers are critical to ending TB, but nurses, working on the front line of TB care and treatment, are equally so”, says Linette McElroy, Programme Secretary of The Union’s Nurses and Allied Professionals Sub-Section (NAPS).

NAPS is a sub-section of The Union membership that any nurses and applied professionals who are Union members can opt to be part of. The members of NAPS work together to strengthen their contributions to TB and lung health, and to coordinate best practices, support learning and facilitate professional development for nurses. Conference participants are invited to bring patient and provider TB education and training materials to display and discuss at the NAPS booth in the exhibition area.

Linette, a registered nurse turned TB educator, has been involved in TB prevention, care and control for more than 20 years. Emphasising the important role of nurses in the treatment of TB, she says, “TB is a disease of inequality and particularly affects marginalised populations. TB nurses are motivated by social justice. The health problems we see reflect injustice and inequality, and we can be agents of change.”

According to her colleague, Carrie Tudor, NAPS Sub-Section Chair and TB Project Director for the International Council of Nurses, TB treatment is not generally part of nurse training yet in low-resource settings there are fewer doctors, meaning that TB care is often carried out by nurses. This means high quality nursing care is vital to the successful treatment of TB and training is central to that.

Tudor trains nurses around the world on TB and infection control for the International Council of Nurses, through funding from the Lilly Foundation. A key part of this training is The Union best practice TB guide, which provides practical guidance to health workers on the front line of TB control. An updated version of the guide is due to be launched at the conference, bringing a powerful resource to nurses. Tudor says of the guide, “It’s an invaluable resource. The nurses love its structure and clarity – they don’t want to put it down.”

A nurse who has benefited from training is Margaret Nduta, a nursing officer in the TB unit at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, Uganda. She says, “Nurses spend the most time with patients, so when empowered with knowledge on treating TB it’s a benefit to all because this leads to good adherence, good outcomes, a healthy community for all, and through this we will reach our goal strategy – a TB-free world in 2030.”

The updated Best Practice Guide will launch during the conference, with a dedicated event at the NAPS booth in the exhibition area.

Find out more about NAPS and other Union Scientific Sub-Sections here.