Meals as Medicines: Addressing Undernutrition to End the Global Tuberculosis Epidemic

Global Health Seminar Series 2021-2022

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 / 12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading infectious cause of death globally. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on TB care, as the number of people receiving treatment has plummeted, resulting in the first rise in global TB mortality in more than a decade. Given this crisis, novel and aggressive strategies are needed to accelerate an eventual end to the TB epidemic. Undernutrition is the leading risk factor for TB globally. And yet, despite the central role of nutrition in contributing to TB incidence and mortality, few interventions have targeted this critical risk factor. In this talk, we define the scale of the problem, review the evidence linking undernutrition to TB, highlight the importance of addressing this modifiable accelerant of the second highest infectious killer globally, and discuss the possibility of aiding TB elimination efforts through changes to the nutritional policy.