TB disease occurs most often within the context of economic and social vulnerabilities, and patients receiving TB treatment frequently experience other psychological, social and economic problems that may interfere with their ability to complete treatment. An episode of TB may further exacerbate poverty or reduce a patient or family’s economic and social well-being, and even if cure is attained, the experience of TB can reinforce health and social disparities and increase the risk of reinfection. The effect of TB can be especially profound for patients who already experience vulnerabilities, including migrants, the homeless, prisoners, people living with HIV infection, patients with substance abuse problems, social/cultural minorities, and other marginalized groups.
The objective of this document is to provide a framework for projects involved in TB, TB/HIV and MDR TB to better plan, manage, and coordinate delivery of social support and social protection services for TB patients. This guide includes lessons from existing TB social support programs. Building on these lessons, this guide seeks to articulate a minimum package of effective social support and social protection services, emanating from discussions around the purpose and need for different social support components, and potential partnerships with existing service providers.