Cochrane Review Gives Thumbs Up To GeneXpert Test For Detection Of MDR-TB

Researchers, from the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, McGill University and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), analysed data from 18 studies, spread over 27 distinct centres, and involving a total of 7,816 adults supposed to be having pulmonary TB or multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)-- with or without HIV infection-- with a view to assess  the diagnostic accuracy of the Xpert® MTB/RIF test -- a rapid, automated diagnostic test endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 that simultaneously detects TB and resistance to rifampicin, as an indicator of multidrug resistance. Most of these studies (55.6%) were carried out in low- and middle-income countries. This systematic review published in The Cochrane Library provides timely advice to clinicians and policymakers in countries where TB is a major public health problem.

Health leaders warn that designated smoking areas threaten public health

Local and international experts warned this week that designated smoking areas in restaurants and workplaces, as allowed in Bangladesh’s proposed Bill for Amending Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act, 2005, will threaten the health of citizens. Over the past five days, 25 international and local public health experts have participated in a workshop on ‘Enforcing Bangladesh’s Smokefree Laws,’ organised by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and held in the BRAC Centre for Development Management in Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.

TB Is A Social Disease With Medical Consequences

The Partnership for TB care and control in India announced its first Annual award for TB Champion Individual and TB Champion Organization at its recently held National Consultative Meeting in Delhi. This award has been instituted by the partnership (and is supported by Dr. Madhukar Pai and Global Health Strategies for next five years--2013-2018) to recognize the effort of individuals and organizations working for tuberculosis care and control in India. The first recipients of this prestigious award were the Hinduja Research Foundation and Hospital in Mumbai in the institutional category, and Dr Nalini Krishnan, Director of REACH, a Chennai based NGO doing commendable work in the field of TB Control in India - in the individual category.

Thrust on research to protect MSM and transgender people from HIV

HIV rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender community are alarming. Unless we have safe and effective HIV prevention methods for men, women and transgender people who practice anal sex, it will be difficult to stem the epidemic.
“There is clearly an epidemic of HIV in MSM and transgender community not only in Asian countries but also in the United States. MSM people of colour or those from African-American or Latino-American backgrounds, have the highest risk of HIV among the MSM community in US. In some of the major American cities rates are extremely high. That kind of situation is mirrored in Asia too. We see at varying degrees that some countries have higher rates than others, but we do see HIV increasing in MSM communities throughout South-East Asia and East Asia in general” said Dr Timothy H Holtz, Director, HIV/STD Research Programme, Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) - US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Collaboration, Bangkok, Thailand.

Can HIV Positive Couples Lead A Happy Conjugal Life?

In Gujarat, people living with HIV are looking at a new therapy – marriage within the community of HIV positive people. Activist activist G.V. Joshi cites the example of a diamond worker Manohar, who was HIV positive and unmarried when he met his future wife Sujata at counselling meetings. Sujata too was HIV positive having caught the virus from her ex-husband. The two decided to tie the knot. A jubilant Manohar says that, “This marriage has proved to be the best decision of my life.

Front-page of South Asian newspapers under gender lens

[हिंदी] "Front-page of South Asian newspapers under gender lens" report was released in Lucknow by Vote For Health campaign of Asha Parivar and Citizen News Service – CNS. This report presents the summary analysis of an initial pilot research study comprising a month-long news monitoring, aggregation and gender analysis of the first page of prominent English newspapers in five South Asian countries.

Call for applications: CNS Health Fellowship Programme 2013 for health writers

Citizen News Service – CNS is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications for new fellows for its CNS Health Fellowship Programme 2013. This programme offers training on neglected health priorities for health writers through mentorship, peer support, networking opportunities, and technical assistance.

Right To Education A Top Priority: Mayor

[हिंदी] Right to education (RTE) is a top priority, said Dr Dinesh Sharma, Mayor, Lucknow, who was addressing a Child Rights Convention in Lucknow. Over two hundred school children including some differently abled children, hailing from various districts of Uttar Pradesh participated in this convention. Added Dr Sharma: Every child must understand that duties must come first and then rights. He advocated a uniform system of education for all children, regardless of their socio-economic background.

Demand for speedy trial and higher conviction rate in sexual assault cases

While Indians are out on the streets demanding a severe law against rape after the shameful incident in Delhi, another debate has got initiated to find the root cause of this inhuman act. "A stricter law is not the solution, it is only a short term remedy. There are evidences of strict law, like death penalty, often working as a deterrent for the judiciary. How many times we see a death sentence in our country? What we need is speedy trials and high conviction rates, the state of which is quite pathetic in India," says Prof Manju Agarwal, Director, Amity Institute of Behavioural and Allied Sciences.

People demand tougher laws against sexual assault

Civil society groups and citizens have submitted a comprehensive list of recommendations today (2nd January 2013) to government-appointed committee that is currently seeking input on how to reform laws against sexual assault. These recommendations emerged at an open consultation held in Lucknow on 28th December 2012 to seek input for Justice JS Verma Committee that is currently seeking input till 5th January 2013 to strengthen laws to respond to cases of sexual violence. This consultation was organized jointly by Socialist Party, Lok Rajniti Manch, Humsafar – Support Centre for Women, Asha Parivar and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).

New Hope For MDR-TB Patients

On Dec. 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved bedaquiline (Sirturo), as part of combination therapy, to treat adults with pulmonary multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) when other alternatives are not available. Bedaquiline has the potential to improve the treatment for this particularly deadly and hard-to-treat form of TB that occurs when M. tuberculosis becomes resistant to isonazid and rifampin, two powerful drugs most commonly used to treat TB. Sirturo works by inhibiting an enzyme needed by M. tuberculosis to replicate and spread throughout the body. Sirturo is the first drug approved, in over forty years, to treat MDR TB and should be used in combination with other drugs used to treat TB.

Prayer for India on this New Year

Lord Tennyson had rightly said that 'The old order changeth yielding place to new' and also that 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of'. Well this is my prayer for India (inspired by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore) on this New Year…