MDR-TB, tobacco control, Lung diseases to be in focus at 2012 global meet

More than 3,000 lung health experts and advocates from countries around the world will come together at the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to discuss the latest opportunities and challenges in the fight against lung disease. The conference  organised by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 13th to 17th November 2012. 

New Interventions To Treat Diabetic Foot Infections

In an exclusive interview given to Citizen News Service onsite at the Amrita Endocrinology, Diabetes and Diabetic Foot Conference (AEDFC 2012) held recently at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi, two renowned and senior stalwarts of the institute’s Department of Endocrinology, Diabetic Lower Limb and Podiatric Surgery, Dr Harish Kumar and Dr Ajit Kumar Varma, shared some of the latest developments that have taken place at AIMS in the field of diabetic foot management.

Never Fall In Love With Technology...

….So said Dr Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, in an exclusive interview given to CNS onsite at the AIDS Vaccine 2012. Underlining the importance of understanding the complexities of science and community, he emphasized that, “None of the HIV/AIDS prevention methods can be the answer to the problem by themselves. It is not the product but the person who uses it that prevents HIV. A condom will not work if not used. Even if we have the gel or a vaccine unless people think about their risk and go for testing nothing will work. So, one should resist the temptation to fall in love with technology - as all scientific interventions require behavioural changes—not only at the individual level but also at the health system levels.”

ICPS Roll out in Uttar Pradesh Possible within the next three months?

The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is a much awaited initiative in Uttar Pradesh. And Rightly so with hopes of both, the government agencies as well as the private NGOs and activists pinned on the scheme for a better, safer and a more organized system of ushering in a protective environment for children in the state.  Once implemented the ICPS is being touted as the ultimate accountability apparatus for care and protection as well as an effective juvenile justice system in the state.

No getting to zero new HIV infections in ASEAN without women

Young women, female sex workers, transgender women, women who use drugs and women living with HIV have called on ASEAN to support women and girls living with and affected by HIV. On September 24 and 25, 2012, ASEAN delegates from the ASEAN Task Force on AIDS (ATFOA) and the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) gathered together for a “Consultative Meeting on HIV and Key Affected Women and Girls: Reducing Intimate Partner Transmission of HIV in ASEAN” in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Civil society and community groups representing key affected women and girls called for scaling up action and resources for policies and programs that address the rights of women and girls in the context of HIV and AIDS.

Charcot Foot In Diabetes: An Enigma

Charcot neuropathic osteo-arthropathy, commonly referred to as the Charcot Foot, is a condition affecting the bones, joints, and soft tissues of the foot and ankle. The disorder was first brought to the world’s attention in 1983 by Dr Jean Martin Charcot when he referred to the disease process as a complication of syphilis in the knee joint in his patient. Syphilis was believed to be the most common cause of Charcot arthropathy until 1936, when Dr William Jordan linked it to diabetes. Diabetes is now one of the leading causes of Charcot Foot especially in patients with a long history of the disease. In India the incidence is 1%, but detection rates are increasing, perhaps due more awareness. 

Comprehensive and integrated action must to control heart disease

World Heart Day is on 29th September
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the world's largest killers, claiming 17.3 million (1 crore 73 lakhs) lives a year. Risk factors for heart disease and stroke include raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, smoking, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight, obesity and physical inactivity. Heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke. Individuals can reduce their risk of CVDs by engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke, choosing a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and avoiding foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Look At Your Feet And Listen To Them

A three day Amrita Endocrinology, Diabetes and Diabetic Foot Conference (AEDFC 2012) was recently held in Kochi at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS). It brought together clinicians, surgeons and researchers from across the country and the world to re energize the grey cells and deliberate upon various problems related to endocrinology and diabetes, with special emphasis on the management of diabetic foot infections, which could so often be life/limb threatening and yet are largely misunderstood and/or ignored by the public as well as medical fraternity.  

Salvaging the foot in people with diabetes

With over 200,000 diabetic foot related amputations in India every year, it is  critically important to do all that is warranted to salvage, and to care for, the feet of the people living with diabetes. Dr Robert Frykberg, Chief of the Podiatry Section, Carl T Hayden VA Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, said to Citizen News Service (CNS) at the Amrita Endocrine, Diabetes and Diabetic Foot Conference (AEDFC 2012): "Rate of amputations is probably higher in India with 200,000 amputations per year in India [than in USA]. About 15-20% patients of diabetic foot might end up with amputations."

Call for comprehensive and well-coordinated care for diabetic foot

Foot care for people with diabetes attains a high priority, given the risk they have for developing complications which, if not cared for, might lead to serious outcomes, such as amputation. In the hospital setting, caring for feet of people with diabetes needs a well-coordinated and multi-speciality response that engages different specialist doctors and other healthcare providers. This was a clear message coming out of the Amrita Endocrine, Diabetes and Diabetic Foot Conference (AEDFC 2012) held in Kochi, India.

Microbicides Set To Change The landscape Of HIV Prevention

The concept of microbicides as an HIV prevention tool was first proposed 20 years ago. Microbicide is a product applied topically in the vagina or rectum with the intention of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. It can take different forms such as a gel, foam or a ring. The idea to use the ARV-based tenovofir gel was mooted in 2003 but the proof of concept came only in 2010. The microbicide tenofovir gel was found safe and effective in reducing the risk of HIV in women who used it before and after vaginal sex in a study called CAPRISA 004. The CAPRISA 004 study demonstrated an overall 39% reduction in HIV infection, with 54% HIV reduction in women who used tenofovir gel consistently, providing proof of concept that microbicides indeed can prevent sexually transmitted HIV if used consistently.

An HIV vaccine will never work in isolation

In the event that control and elimination of HIV is realised in the next few years, maintaining this success is going to be hard without a vaccine. That is how the Director of the US’ National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr Anthony Fauci analysed the situation at the AIDS Vaccine 2012 conference which ended Wednesday (Sept.12) in the American city of Boston. “If you want to have [HIV] control and maintenance of control, elimination and maintenance of elimination, in my mind the science and behaviour will tell me that it will virtually impossible to get to the point of true control and elimination without a vaccine,” said Dr Fauci in a keynote lecture. 

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision partially protects against HIV, HPV and Herpes

Modeling based on a timeline where 80 percent coverage of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) of men age 15-49 is achieved by 2015 suggests that more than 20 percent of new HIV infections would be averted by 2025, with financial savings of an estimated USD 16.6 billion in future medical costs, said Cindra Feuer, Communications and Policy Advisor, AVAC - Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention at AIDS Vaccine 2012.

Long road ahead for insensitivity plagued juvenile justice system

(Names of children have been changed to protect their identity) 12 year old Kushan, has just turned into a Juvenile in Conflict with Law. His crime-shooting dead his step mother with his father’s revolver. While the act itself may sound quite scandalous, what is even more outrageous is the fact the child despite having surrendered to the police himself post the shooting, and clearly showing no malafide  intention that precipitated the act, has been allegedly apprehended and sent to an observation home in Muzzaffarnagar, UP being  treated as an aberrant.

Vaccines: Final Nail In HIV Coffin?

Long road to vaccines
HIV is said to have killed more than 30 million people across the globe since it was discovered in 1983 by Dr Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Traditionally vaccines have been extraordinary tools to prevent infectious diseases, stop epidemics and save millions of lives. However with regard to HIV, this time honoured concept of a stand-alone prevention modality vaccine seems unlikely. In the global efforts to end the AIDS pandemic an HIV vaccine would be a critical component of a comprehensive combination prevention strategy. 

Celebrating The First Ever Global Female Condom Day

For the first time ever, people from all over the world will observe Global Female Condom Day on Wednesday, 12th September 2012. The Chicago Female Condom Campaign will help lead the way calling for greater access to, and increased education on the importance of female condoms. The purpose of this dedicated day of action is to demonstrate the need for this important, yet greatly underutilized, safe sex tool. Advocates and organizations across 21 countries aim to promote female condoms through community education, distribute female condoms and call for greater access at clinics, businesses and pharmacies. 

Vaginal Microbicide offers hope for partial anti-HIV protection

There are clear reasons why the vaginal microbicide research and development offers more hope in 2012. Vaginal microbicide (anti-HIV gel) research is going ahead and scientists are waiting for study results to tell them more whether the CAPRISA-004 study results that reported 39% overall efficacy for women in July 2010 can be replicated in another study called FACTS-001, and if so, is the evidence strong enough for licensure.

Combination Prevention: Can it turn the HIV tide?

If we really want to turn the HIV tide, we cannot afford to wait for a 'magic bullet', but do a better job with a broad range of HIV prevention and treatment tools and approaches at hand. The good news is that there is a growing list of evidence-based HIV prevention approaches that should be scaled up without delay to turn the tide (along with treatment and care). The bad news is that highly effective HIV vaccines may not be coming so soon. The sooner vaccines come, the earlier we can put the 'nail in the coffin' of eliminating HIV (provided we implement non-vaccine modalities of HIV prevention and care 'really really well'), said Dr Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Health (NIH), USA, at the AIDS Vaccine 2012.

Avoid Amputation: Manage The Diabetic Foot

India is home to the second highest number of people living with diabetes in the world, after China. Today there are over 45 million people grappling with the disease, and the numbers show no signs of reducing. Amongst other health hazards, diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease, involving both the macro and micro circulation. Statistics reveal that 15% of all those living with the disease will develop foot problems related to diabetes, and may suffer from various deformities of the toes and feet, commonly called ‘diabetic foot conditions’. These can develop from a combination of causes including neuropathy (nerve damage) and/or poor blood supply to the foot, which creates areas of raised pressures in the soles of the feet, where ulcers develop. These ulcers act as portals for the entry for bacteria leading to serious infections, which in the already immune compromised patients can result in amputations or even death.

Progress and Challenges in the Search for an HIV Vaccine

Scientists from around the world will gather in Boston next week to present more than 400 new research studies updating global progress in the search for a safe and effective HIV vaccine. AIDS Vaccine 2012, the world's only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to HIV vaccine research, runs Sunday, 9 September through Wednesday, 12 September. The annual AIDS vaccine meeting is hosted by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise a unique collaboration of HIV vaccine research, funding, advocacy and stakeholder organizations. The Local Hosts for AIDS Vaccine 2012 are the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

Indoor Air Pollution Not A Public Health Issue in Zimbabwe

LOVING memories of my grandmother’s cooking hut in the backyard of Zimbabwe are still fresh inside me like morning dawn. Yet, I also remember how the hut would fill up with smoke that choked my throat and stung my eyes and how I sat through it all enjoying a meal or engaged in conversation with loved ones.  Little did I know that it was a health hazard. Like most Zimbabweans – approximately 70 per cent of the population lives in rural areas – it was a normal facet of our lives. In fact, if one revealed any lack of resilience against the smoke, they would be regarded as a snobbish urbanite. And not many people are willing to be associated with such a tag.

Staff accountability is defined in Juvenile Justice Act

At a recent training workshop for Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members, at which I was invited as the guest expert on the issue of "Child Rights and Convergence of Related Agencies to Ensure access to Juvenile Justice System for a child in distress," a very poignant question was raised by a CWC Member from Uttarakhand: "When we know that institutions like children homes and observation homes are 'hell holes' where the child is likely to be exposed to more abuse and neglect, then knowingly why do we shove these children down these 'wells of horrors'?"

Indoor Air Pollution in Thailand

To read the Thai language article written by Duangkamol Donchaum, Citizen News Service (CNS) Thailand, click here, and to listen to the audio broadcast in Thai language, click here