India does not need an enemy

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Bobby Ramakant, Dr Rahul Pandey, CNS
The Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal intends to set up a three tier public health care system in the country’s capital. A 1000 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics will be the primary health care centres. A 100 polyclinics will function as a link between the primary and main health centres. This system will reduce the rush in OPDs of hospitals. In Sri Lanka there is a health centre within 1.4 km from the residence of most people. Life expectancy in Sri Lanka at about 75 years is ten times more than in India. Infant mortality rate in Sri Lanka is merely 11 per thousand live births compared to 47 in India. Under-five mortality rates in India and Sri Lanka are 61 and 12, respectively, for the same number of live births. Maternal mortality ratio per lakh live births in India is 200, whereas in Sri Lanka it is merely 35. Infant immunization in Sri Lanka is almost universal whereas India struggles to reach out to less than three fourths of its children.

Despite promise to end Encephalitis and other NTDs by 2030, why is action missing?

Indian government along with other governments of UN member countries had adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the 70th UN General Assembly in New York in September 2015. One of the SDG targets (3.3) promises that "By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases." Encephalitis, one of the NTDs, continues to severely impact under-15 years old people with very little well-coordinated response to contain, and eventually eliminate it. Why?

Does MPOWER really empower women?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Well, the answer seems to be NO, as was made out in the deliberations at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health held in Cape Town recently. WHO had introduced the MPOWER measures in 2008 to assist in the country-level implementation of effective interventions for tobacco control as contained in the global tobacco treaty (formally called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

MDR-TB care: Where do we go when health systems are overburdened?

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
In any situation of health crisis, it is normally assumed that care of the sick, especially infectious patients, is designated to clinically trained nurses and doctors in hospital settings. Today, as the world battles with the epidemic of infectious diseases like TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), many settings are faced with limited bed-capacity to hospitalize and care for patients till they can be integrated back into the community.

MDR-TB treatment: Comprehensive health system response is needed

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
Marian Loveday of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), presented a real life interesting case study at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, held in Cape Town recently, which illustrated the typical treatment journey of a multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patient in South Africa. South Africa, where a decentralized model of treatment is being adapted in most facilities, has one of the largest MDR-TB epidemics in the world found in its Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, with approximately 75% of the MDR-TB patients being co-infected with HIV.

m-Health solutions for TB care: A moment to ponder

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
Dr Evan Lee (R)
In a world where the use of information and communication technology is on a constant rise, the mobile phone, in particular, has permeated to low-income nations where, even in the remotest of areas, it is becoming a form of a necessity. It then seems logical that we utilize this gadget, as much as we can, in seeking health solutions. During the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health held in Cape Town, results of some of the m-health projects for TB care and control piloted in different countries were shared in a lively session.

[Webinar] Half the battle won with new child-friendly TB drugs: What's the other half?

To breathe is to live : Call for action to tackle pneumonia

Dr Richa Sharma, CNS Correspondent, India
A walk in a clinic in an urban slum or rural setting is invariably associated with one coming across a parent sitting with their child helping them to breathe through the mouthpiece of a nebulizer machine. Such is the presence of pneumonia cases in developing countries and resource constraint settings.

30 years of HIV in India: Progress in UP but daunting challenges remain

[हिंदी] Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India (ASI), who was among the first clinicians to come forward when first HIV case got diagnosed in India in 1985, was the guest keynote speaker at a seminar on “30 years of HIV in India” organized by Department of Microbiology, Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), ASI, People’s Health Organization and CNS in SGPGIMS on Tuesday, 15th December 2015.

Pneumonia: An outcome of preventable mistakes

Dr Amitava Acharyya, CNS Correspondent, India 
Photo credit: CNS
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history”--Aldous Huxley
During the early 1900s, pneumonia was the third leading cause of death. Still now it is in endemic condition among under 5 years old children (responsible for 15% of all deaths in children < 5 years old) and geriatric population. The preventive and curative aspects of pneumonia are well established. But, the failure of implementation of proper health care structure, inadequate health promotion and health education among the masses and inadequate supply of anti-biotics remain the causes of this preventable burden.

[Call to register for webinar] Half battle won with new child-friendly TB drugs: What's the other half?

[Webinar recording] We welcome you to register for an exclusive media webinar on 'Half the battle won with new child-friendly TB drugs. What is the other half?' As we know, the world's first appropriate, child-friendly fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines to treat children suffering from drug-sensitive TB were announced just ahead of the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa. Get connected with noted experts from lead agencies such as the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), TB Alliance, Stop TB Partnership and its Global Drug Facility, who will present and respond to questions live!

Inhaled drug therapy for TB treatment

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
In the light of the outcry of the high pill burden, severe toxicity and high treatment non-adherence rates, and many more challenges associated with the treatment of TB, in particular of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), innovative drug therapies are beginning to be explored. One of them - inhaled TB drugs - were presented at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health held recently in Cape Town.

Connecting the dots: Mental health and tuberculosis

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
Dr Annika Sweetland
As I get totally swathed by the very inspiring and tiring 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, a serious thought that came to my mind was the connect between mental health and TB. This was a question also posed by Dr Annika Sweetland, a Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology from Columbia University, also tried to answer a similar question in one of the sessions: Does TB predispose patients to mental health disorders, and, are mental health disorders a risk factor to developing active TB?

TB-HIV in pregnant women: Does drug metabolism change?

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
Photo credit: CNS:
In a global conference where lung health is addressed in different tracks through parallel and equally stimulating sessions, with emphasis on TB, one often finds oneself struggling about what session to attend and which one to forego on behalf of the other. I was often faced with a similar dilemma while attending the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health. Therefore, when I came across the session 'Maternal and Infant TB: Advancing our understanding of pathogenesis, treatment and prevention', I had to pause.

Will 2030 Global Goals help accelerate progress towards ending TB?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
[CNS video] This article is based upon an exclusive interview with Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO's Global TB Programme. Dr Raviglione spoke with CNS (Citizen News Service) at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa. As we know, the Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2030 adopted by the governments at the 70th United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, present an integrated development agenda.

Lesson from the frontlines: Decentralized care and treatment for MDR-TB

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
During the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health, that just concluded in Cape Town, I had the opportunity of visiting the close-by township of Khayelitsha, where Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), more commonly known as Doctors Without Borders, has, since 2007, implemented a decentralized model of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) care.

[Focus] Do not delay roll-out of child-friendly TB drugs

TB Chronicles: A leading example of community-driven approach in Eastern Cape South Africa

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
Learners from Masakhe Primary School
in Duncan village, East London
In Kenya, there is a phrase ‘serikali saidia’ which translates to ‘government help us’ and it is often that you will find that this phrase appear in conversations of victims of disaster situations. Therefore, if a bridge is swept away during a flood, you are bound to hear the villagers explaining how fundamental the bridge is to their day-to-day activities and their plea to the government is that it builds a stronger and wider bridge next time.

Patient-centred approach for MDR-TB treatment: Are we ready?

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
Dr Jennifer Furin (L), Alice Tembe (R)
As the world gears up for ‘The New Agenda: Lung health beyond 2015’ - the inspired theme of the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, a new buzz word doing the rounds is about keeping patients central to all treatment approaches and not merely a number in data.

Turning the tide on drug-resistant TB

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
Photo credit: CNS:
There is a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, “If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.” The point being that if you want to change the end results, you need to change the way you do things. The escalation of multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), with approximately 480,000 new cases of MDR-TB reported in 2014 globally, has challenged the principles of care for TB patients.

[Focus] How can we accelerate progress towards ending TB by 2030?

Half the battle won: Need to accelerate roll-out of child-friendly anti-TB drugs

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Monique Davids (R)
with her son Jaden (in her lap)
Monique Davids, mother of 4 children, lives in Cape Town, the venue of the ongoing 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health (conference theme is 'A new agenda: Lung health beyond 2015'). She is a living example of what it is to be the caregiver for children suffering with TB. The past one year seems to have aged her a lot making her look much older than her 32 years. Her fiance and father of her four children contracted TB which he passed on to his two children - his youngest son Jaden was diagnosed with TB in 2014 at the age of two months, along with his 3 years old sister.

End TB agenda: Have we done enough?

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
As the world was commemorating the World AIDS Day on the 1st of December 2015, it came to fore that tremendous progress has been made in the past three decades-- from ‘no name for the wasting disease, no antiretroviral treatment (ART) for adults or children, no special trained doctors/nurses/laboratory specialists, no diagnostic equipment’, to ‘patient friendly treatment for both adults and children, state of the art equipment for diagnosis and continued care, elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV, specialized health care professionals and significant improvement of the quality of life for persons living with HIV’.

Pneumonia: What do we know?

Photo credit: CNS
Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
Pneumonia has been noted as one of the most deadly infectious illness for children worldwide, with an estimated 900,000 children dying of pneumonia this year. Dr Amita Pandey, a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at K G Medical University, India, presented statistical data showing the incidence of pneumonia in children under five to be approximately 156 million new episodes each year and WHO estimates that death due to pneumonia occurs in 1 in 3 cases. The Director of Policy, Advocacy and Communication at IVAC, Lois Privor-Dumm further indicates that every minute, six children die from pneumonia or diarrhea. The burden of pneumonia screams for attention.

TB Chronicles: An MDR/ XDR-TB champion

Dr Diana Wangari, CNS Special Correspondent, Kenya
How many people find it hard to complete an antibiotic dose that is probably one tablet a day for 5 days? Do you remember the last time the doctor said you needed to get an injection and you thought to yourself, surely there must be some other way and so you tried negotiating with the doctor? Now imagine having to take twenty-seven pills a day for not just 5 days but 2 years and on top of that a painful daily injection for 6 months? Take a moment and let that sink in.

MDR-TB: A generation of survivors

Alice Tembe, CNS Special Correspondent, Swaziland
Being a public health specialist in the field of TB and HIV, there are always aspects that tend to fall through the cracks, only to be realized when the effects start showing and then another intervention is designed-- the cycle seems to be never ending. As a member of the engagement tour organized by the Lilly MDR TB Partnership at the King Dinuzulu Hospital, I walked through a path of awakening.

A milestone in global health: Child friendly TB medicines become a reality

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Thanks to the untiring efforts of TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development), and its partners: World Health Organization (WHO), UNITAID and US Agency for International Development (USAID) - the world's first appropriate, child-friendly fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines to treat children suffering from drug-sensitive TB were announced today, just ahead of the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa.

A school with a difference!

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Located on the grounds of the King George Hospital Complex (now known as the King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex- KDHC) in Durban, ‘King George V Primary School’ is indeed a school with a difference, catering to the special educational and social needs of a unique class of children.

Should we celebrate success or gear up to end AIDS?

The fight against AIDS has definitely made considerable progress but formidable challenges confront the path to ending AIDS by 2030, as committed by the countries globally at 70th UN General Assembly in September 2015. The brutal irony is that despite knowing 'what works in helping us progress towards AIDS' the uptake of these evidence-based strategies is abysmally low, and some countries like India, have slashed health budgets by 20%.

End Childhood TB: Get social and spread the word