Early diagnosis of female genital TB can reduce morbidity

Dr AG Radhika, CNS Columnist
Photo credit: CNS: citizen-news.org
Tuberculosis (TB) is an important health problem in the low and middle income countries. Pulmonary TB is estimated to have affected about 14 million people in India, most of who are in the reproductive age group. About 12% of women with pulmonary TB also suffer from female genital TB (FGTB). FGTB constitutes almost 9% of extra-pulmonary cases of TB and 13% of gynaecological admissions in India. Infertility is the most frequent clinical presentation of FGTB (43%-74%). 

Do not forget children in evidence-informed healthcare

Dr Meenu Singh, co-chair
22nd Cochrane Colloquium
Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Very often the plea for simple and effective healthcare for children gets drowned in the din of voices of vested interests (including those of pharmaceutical companies) that clamour to draw attention to long lasting adult diseases like cardiac, neurological, and diabetes problems, just to name a few. Producing/selling drugs for them is far more profitable than for childhood diseases like diarrohea and pneumonia, which have a short span, and so are nobody’s baby. It is high time we stood up for the cause of evidence based healthcare for children.

Rhythm of the heart

Dr Bobby John, CNS Columnist
A little fluttering in the chest or pounding of the heart is all too familiar and a common phenomenon that we often ignore; rightly so, when it is before a public speech or while we run to catch a bus or train that is leaving the platform. These are normal responses to stressful events. However, when it occurs without any rhyme or reason, then we ought to give it some thought.

Wikipedia and Cochrane collaboration: Big push for evidence-informed public health

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Dr David Tovey
The Cochrane Collaboration has undoubtedly succeeded in deepening the roots of evidence-based medicine, policy and practice, despite challenges and limitations. How to ensure that healthcare professionals, policy makers, and citizens can have access to this reliable and trustworthy evidence while making decisions is indeed a key challenge. At 22nd Cochrane Colloquium, Wikipedia and Cochrane collaboration attracted huge attention: because it can indeed be a potential game-changer in terms of widening the audience manifold, astronomically!

Knowledge translation into policy is not automatic, it is political: Dr Binayak Sen

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
"Translation of knowledge into policy is not automatic. It is a political process" said Dr Binayak Sen, a recipient of prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in 2008. He spoke to Citizen News Service (CNS) at 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad, India, and remarked that "technical advancements in informatics and processing of information and the impulse towards democratization of knowledge structures have come together at this Colloquium. Coming together of these two processes will create an impulse for genuine democratization of medical knowledge. We are looking forward to the day when everybody will be able to access all the medical knowledge in the world. At least there should be no barrier for people who want to access knowledge from medical system."

Medical malpractices: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Dr Peter Gotzsche
The noblest professional of all-to heal fellow human beings- is certainly witnessing its worst decay. Dr Peter Gotzsche, Director, Nordic Cochrane Centre and Professor in University of Copenhagen, said to Citizen News Service (CNS): "There is a lot that needs to change in healthcare. It is one of the most corrupted sectors in society. In Denmark, for example, we have thousands of doctors who are on industry payrolls - they are consultants, they sit on advisory boards - but in reality it is a soft form of bribery because if you do not behave as expected you will no longer be on the payroll." Dr Gotzsche is one of the sanest voices in medical fraternity striving hard to bring evidence-based medicine, ethics and integrity back in fashion.

Include evidence-based medicine in medical education curriculum: Dr Jeremy Grimshaw

Dr Jeremy Grimshaw
Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Till recently, medical schooling curriculum did not include training for searching medical literature, doing systematic reviews or finding credible evidence from time-tested repositories such as The Cochrane Library. But in the last decade or so, medical training has incorporated some of the evidence-based medicine principles in countries such as Canada. Dr Jeremy Grimshaw, Director of Canadian Cochrane Centre and current co-chair of The Cochrane Collaboration globally spoke with Citizen News Service (CNS) on the sidelines of 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad, India.

WHO and Cochrane collaboration to accelerate evidence-based public health

Prof Lisa Bero
Photo credit: UCSF
Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
The World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted the Cochrane Collaboration, the largest repository of systematic reviews that provides reliable and thorough evidence on healthcare, as a non-governmental agency in "official relations with WHO". This collaboration between the two can potentially accelerate the uptake of evidence-based medicine, health policy and practice. Citizen News Service (CNS) interviewed Professor Lisa A Bero, the key leader in the Cochrane Collaboration who helped make this synergistic two-ways linkage happen in 2011.

Hyderabad to Cape Town: Evidence driving medical research and health systems strengthening

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Prof Jimmy Volmink
"We develop medicines and other therapies which are based on very good research, but then we offer those therapies often in ways that are untested and have never been evaluated. So there is a natural progression from making sure that our treatments are evidence-based, to the next phase of ensuring that the way we offer those treatments to people is also evidence-based” said Professor Jimmy Volmink, Director of South African Cochrane Centre and Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

A Village Goes Organic

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent
Situated at an altitude of 2,400 metres, Toplang, a village in the South West district of Dhading, Nepal, has been successfully maintaining its identity as an 'organic village' of the country. The village is merely an hour's drive along the Chandragiri hill from Kathmandu's Thankot pass.

Malaria control cannot succeed without community involvement

Dr Pradeep K Srivastava
Kulsum Mustafa, CNS Correspondent
Every minute a child dies from malaria. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of world's population is at risk of malaria. "Mosquito borne diseases are a major health problem in India. Globally every year 3.4 billion people are at risk. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of malaria prevent deaths," said Dr Pradeep K Srivastava, a well known 'scientoonist'.  He advised that adequate preventive dose of malaria are a must when one is visiting a mosquito-prone place. Urging medical alertness and timely blood tests if fever persists beyond a day, Dr Srivastava said that timely detection of malaria and proper medication can help prevent death.

Overcoming roadblocks in translating evidence-based healthcare into public health gains

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Dr Prathap Tharyan,  Director, SACNC
Photo credit: SACNC
Commendable progress has been made in the South Asian region to advance evidence-based healthcare and let evidence inform policy and programmes at different levels. But there have been roadblocks too that are slowing down the progress. Citizen News Service (CNS) spoke with Dr Prathap Tharyan, Director, South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre, who has led from the front on the cause of evidence-based healthcare in this region, and globally. Dr Tharyan is also the co-chair of the 22nd Cochrane Colloquium, which is taking place for the first-time ever in the South Asian region in Hyderabad, India.

Evidence-based medicine is the basis of sound healthcare

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Dr Gordon Guyatt
Evidence based medicine (EBM) emphasizes the use of evidence from robust research in healthcare decision-making. It is the conscientious and judicious use of current available best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. It integrates individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence obtained from systematic research and with the patient's values and expectations. It informs the doctor which drugs and procedures are best for treating diseases.

Research to the rescue of disaster management

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
For management of disasters and humanitarian crises, doing something is not enough—but doing the right thing at the right time is.  Decision-makers need to know which interventions, actions and strategies would work, which would not work, and which, no matter how well-meaning, might be harmful. They need to make well informed choices and decisions and for this they need access to reliable evidence.