The conundrum of TB, tobacco use and NCDs in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific region had over 6.7 million new TB cases and over 883,000 people died of TB in 2021, as per the latest Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO). The top 5 biggest risk factors that caused TB disease in 2021 in Asia Pacific region were undernourishment (1.2 million new cases), tobacco use (502,000 new TB cases), alcohol (486,000 new TB cases), diabetes (234,000 new TB cases), and HIV (209,000 new TB cases).

Will lessons from COVID-19 and TB vaccine rollout improve pandemic preparedness and health security?

TB high burden countries India and Nigeria both have had decades of experience in rolling out the TB vaccine. Both nations were successful (even if not ideal) in reaching out to a large part of their populations with COVID-19 vaccination. Are there any lessons that we can learn from this experience of rolling out vaccines against TB and COVID-19, which might pave the way for improving preparedness for the rollout of future vaccines?

Blunting of AIDS epidemic: It's time for zero-complacency and stronger action

After over 42 years when HIV virus was first detected, the fight against AIDS has indeed come a long way. Ending AIDS by 2030 means that every person globally has access to full spectrum of combination prevention options to protect oneself from HIV, all people living with HIV know their status, receive lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, and remain virally suppressed. Science-proven fact that when HIV virus is at undetectable levels then it is untransmittable too, or “undetectable equals untransmittable” (U Equals U) needs to be a reality in life of every person living with HIV.

Is HIV self-test among the missing links to reach the #endAIDS goal?

[हिन्दी] Almost half the countries worldwide have not yet included HIV self-test in their AIDS response. Only one-fourth of all nations globally do HIV self-test routinely. This is despite the strong evidence which exists not only for HIV self-test, but also how self-tests for COVID-19, diabetes, or pregnancy, have yielded major public health and development gains. Then why wait to expand HIV care cascade by including HIV self-test, asks Dr Ishwar Gilada, who was the first medical doctor to begin HIV medical management when first case got diagnosed in the country in 1986.

Will shorter, safer and more effective TB regimen reach those in need?

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"Patients in India and other countries are falling ill with drug-resistant TB every day. We believe these patients should not have to wait, they need better treatments today – not one or few years down the line. We have the data and strong scientific evidence to show why shorter, safer, more effective regimens to treat drug resistant TB be scaled up programmatically” said Dr Animesh Sinha, Advisor for Tuberculosis at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders.

We cannot end TB if we leave the older people behind

Despite an alarming TB burden among the older people, programmatic response to address it is far from optimal, said Dr Vijay Kumar Arora, Chairperson of TB Association of India, who is also the Chairperson of Southeast Asia region of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union).

When disease burden is low, why COVID-19 continues to be called a pandemic?

[Watch on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook] On 30 January 2023, three years after the WHO had first declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO announced that COVID-19 continues to be a public health emergency of international concern.