14.4 Respiratory protection measures in health facilities

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    14.4.1 Respirators

    Medical staff and non-medical staff should wear a respirator (Appendix 27) when:

    • Entering any high-risk area (Box 14.2).
    • Entering a room previously occupied by an infectious TB patient, if the room has not been ventilated for the time required to remove airborne bacilli (Appendix 24).
    • Performing high-risk procedures (sputum or other respiratory specimen collection, pleural puncture, pulmonary surgery, etc.).
    • Collecting and disposing of sputum containers

    Using respirators needs proper training, fit testing (Appendix 27) and continuous supervision.

    Posters to remind staff of when and where to wear respirators should be displayed within the facility.


    Attendants should wear a respirator when sharing an enclosed space with an infectious patient:

    • Wards or rooms, diagnosis room, sputum or respiratory specimen collection room, etc.
    • Ambulance, taxi, or any vehicle


    Visitors should wear a respirator when entering wards or rooms of infectious patients.

    Visible signs on the entrance doors of departments and rooms should remind attendants and visitors to wear respirators.

    Before any visit, the heath staff should provide information on the risk of TB transmission and the use of respirators in high-risk areas.

    14.4.2 Surgical masks

    Infectious patients should wear a surgical mask (Appendix 28) when:

    • Leaving their room to go to any other enclosed space, including during transport.
    • Taking care of young children.

    Surgical masks should not be worn when patients are alone in their room or when they are outdoors.