International coalition exposes World Bank conflict of interest, calls for reform

Photo credit: 
Corporate Accountability International
[हिन्दी] On the heels of the World Bank's 2014 spring meetings, an international coalition of water rights groups from India and the United States issued a stern call for the institution to end its destructive promotion of water privatization under the guise of development. After a week of meetings, including high level events on water, no action has been taken to address the coalition’s concerns.

Call to make hepatitis C treatment affordable

CNS Image Library: June 2011
With patent barriers on new oral drugs to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in developing countries, the high price of new treatment could squander the opportunity governments now have to scale up diagnosis and treatment for the disease, said an advisory from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The caution comes as MSF welcomed the first-ever World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Meaning of slapping of Arvind Kejriwal

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Photo credit: CNS
Several incidents of ink throwing at or trying to punch or slap Arvind Kejriwal have occurred now. It appears that some people, mostly from his own movement and party, are angry at him and are giving vent to their frustration in this manner. However, is Arvind Kejriwal the only leader with whom people are angry? Actually, people are probably more angry with big leaders of established parties. But have we ever heard of anybody slapping Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Mayawati? Occasionally some Sharad Pawar or Buta Singh is targeted. Such incidents, though, are exceptions. And they were not repeated.

MDR-TB a real threat in Swaziland

Alice Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Tuberculosis is taking the fast lane in Swaziland, and with approximately 1.3 million Swazis exposed to MDR-TB at first infection, it is increasingly becoming difficult to ignore it.  According to the WHO, of the nine million people who get sick every year with TB globally, one third of them are “missed" by health systems.

Rise in global health financing, but funding priorities shift

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Photo credit: CNS
A new research done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at the University of Washington, indicates that globally the total development assistance for health (DAH) hit an all-time high of $31.3 billion in 2013 (a year-over-year increase of 3.9%), although funding priorities shifted. Findings of the research were presented in the report 'Financing Global Health 2013: Transition in an Age of Austerity' by IHME Director and report co-author Dr Christopher Murray and made public at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on 8th April, 2014.

"I did not choose HIV. HIV chose me..."

Manoj Pardesi
Manoj Pardesi - CNS
(First published by India HIV/AIDS Alliance) 
Pre ART: 1986 to 31st March 2004: “You have AIDS,” a counselor said to me in 1997. I don't remember the exact date, but suddenly everything went blank. The counselor had spoken to me for more than 20 minutes, but I just remembered his one sentence: “You have AIDS.” Only one thing came to my mind: everything is finished. I cursed God. Why did He choose me? Why only me?

Call for prioritising TB vaccine research

Tuberculosis, which takes approximately 1.3 million lives per year, imposes not only a huge cost to humanity, but also affects economies worldwide, and not only in developing countries. According to very conservative calculations, the direct costs of TB in the European Union add up to about € 537 million per year. With the threatening rise of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB and Extensively Drug-Resistant (XDR) TB in the whole world, it is likely that these costs will increase in the near future. Several WHO studies indicate that the disease cannot be eliminated without new vaccines.

Multi Drug Resistant TB Still a Menace

Diana Wangari, CNS Correspondent 
(First published in The Star News in Kenya on 15 March 2014)
Tuberculosis is ranked second among the infectious agents with highest mortality rates. According the WHO, 8.7 million people were infected with TB in 2011 with 1.4million deaths. This can be translated to approximately 1,500 deaths every day where 10% of these are children. Despite the high incidence rate, there appeared to be a silver lining after investigations showed a decrease in new infections and an estimated 85% success rate in treatment.

Civil society participation vital for public health programming

Rahul Dwivedi, CNS Special Correspondent
KS Roy Hospital (CNS photo)
“We have always known that alongside scaling up diagnostic and treatment services, engaging communities is vital for the success of disease control efforts. This is especially the case for tuberculosis (TB) – an ancient disease surrounded by stigma, discrimination, and misconceptions. The Knowledge-Attitude-Practice (KAP) survey results underline the payoffs of civil society participation in public health programming” said Dr Sarabjit Chadha, Project Director of ‘Axshya’ at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). The KAP midline survey results were released on 27th March 2014 in New Delhi.

Accurate and affordable TB diagnosis in private sector becoming a reality

Dr Madhukar Pai
Bobby Ramakant, CNS Special Correspondent
Tuberculosis (TB) care and control does not end with an accurate and confirmed diagnosis, but that is a good start point. It needs to be followed with initiating standard and effective anti-TB treatment (without delay), supporting the person with TB to adhere to the treatment regimen and get cured. Dr Madhukar Pai, Associate Director of McGill International TB Centre, addressed private TB healthcare providers including physicians and laboratory experts in New Delhi before the World TB Day 2014.

Call for public-private health sector to follow standards of TB care

Dr Madhukar Pai
Rahul Kumar Dwivedi, CNS Special Correspondent
Data suggests up to 40-50 per cent of tuberculosis (TB) patients are likely to be accessing healthcare services in private sector. A study done in Lucknow by Dr Rajendra Prasad, former Professor and Head of Pulmonary Medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU) showed 44 different prescriptions from physicians for the same TB patient – this is when TB treatment should have been the same in private and public sector both because International Standards for TB care (ISTC) guidelines have been there since 2005 onwards.

Smoking Tobacco Doubles Risk of Recurrent Tuberculosis: New study

[Hindi] Research published on 24 March 2014 provides critical new insight on the harmful links between smoking tobacco and developing tuberculosis (TB). Regular tobacco smoking doubles the risk that people who have been successfully treated for TB will develop TB again—a condition known as "recurrent" TB. The study is the most robust-ever conducted into how smoking tobacco increases the risk of recurrent TB. This study has been published in the April 2014 issue of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease which went online today.

International Respiratory Societies to assist in finding the 3 million “missed” TB cases

[Hindi] A major focus of this World TB Day is the 3 million TB cases that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates are “missed” each year - that is, cases that go undetected, undiagnosed and untreated. Clearly, this must change if global TB control is to be achieved. “The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is committed to mobilizing all its members to help reach the ‘missing’ 3 million tuberculosis cases”, said Dr Maria Montes de Oca, chair of FIRS. “FIRS members represent 70,000 health professionals working in almost every country of the world, so the capacity to increase case finding and provide TB care that meets the International Standards of TB Care is there.”

Tuberculosis control needs a complete and patient-centric solution

Dr Madhukar Pai, Prashant Yadav and Ravi Anupindi
Whether it is mobile phone service or vacation travel, good businesses know that success depends on providing a complete and customer-centric solution. Should patients with tuberculosis not be offered a complete solution that is patient-centred? After all, millions are affected and a large market at the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) remains unserved.