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South Asia

Tanoubi Ngangom on India and Africa’s partnership for access to medicines

9 Aug, 16 | by BMJ

tanoubi_ngangomPrime Minister Modi’s recently concluded four-nation tour to Africa is primarily regarded as part of his larger energy diplomacy outreach. However, what is often overlooked are the enormous investment opportunities that African markets offer—especially in the midst of stagnating markets elsewhere. The agenda for this visit was centred on two themes: (a) mutual economic interests, and (b) common development aspirations. The pharmaceutical sector presents a meeting point for both goals—of exporting medicines to Africa, as well as creating manufacturing bases in Africa. more…

Madhukar Pai: How drug resistant TB can show the path to tackling antimicrobial resistance

18 Jul, 16 | by BMJ

Madhukar PaiAntimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health threat, and it is estimated that if we do not find solutions to tackle the rise of drug resistant pathogens, by 2050 10 million lives a year and a cumulative 100 trillion USD of economic output will be at risk.

Since the introduction of antibiotics, microbes have evolved a variety of methods to resist antibiotics. We are now dealing with “superbugs” that are virtually untreatable, including colistin resistant E coli, drug resistant gonorrhoea, carbapenem resistant enterobacteriaceae, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, extensively drug resistant tuberculosis, and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing strains. The antibiotic pipeline is running dry, and AMR is threatening to undo major gains made in the control of infectious diseases. more…

Jane Parry: Without incentives, health data sharing systems don’t work for patients

5 Jul, 16 | by BMJ

jane_parry3In the multi-payer systems that characterize primary health care in Asia and the Pacific, both developed and developing countries suffer a way of delivering care that works against data sharing.

Even in Hong Kong, China—which has one of the highest standards of health care in the region—services are rendered without a sharable electronic medical records system, as I witnessed in a recent encounter with the medical profession that gave me first-hand insight into the matter. more…

Soham D Bhaduri: The NEET-PG could be an opportunity to transform India’s medical education

29 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Soham Dinabandhu BhaduriThe Indian government has seemingly assented to the NEET-PG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Post Graduate) as a common exit cum entrance exam for those who’ve achieved their MBBS and want to begin practising medicine or continue with a postgraduate medical course, irrespective of whether they come from an Indian or foreign medical school.

As has been reported, the Medical Council of India and the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare have vouched for the NEET-PG as a suitable replacement for university examinations, especially in light of the varying standards of medical education across medical colleges and universities in India.

The idea of a single exam has won exponents all over the nation for a number of reasons. more…

Soumyadeep Bhaumik’s review of South Asian medical papers—June 2016

23 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

soumyadeep bhaumik“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink,” said a mariner, who had returned from a long sea voyage, to a man on his way to wedding ceremony in The Rime of Ancient Mariner.

The sea level in Bangladesh is rising as a consequence of all the evil we are doing by polluting Mother Earth on our journey to be more prosperous. One of its many consequences is the intrusion of saline water in the coastal region which puts people living there at a higher risk of hypertension. A study from Bangladesh found that Bangladeshis did not recognise that salt can occur naturally in water and food and they believed that the cooking process makes it harmless. To top that the risk perception about excessive salt consumption was low. This makes public health communication very challenging in the region, but at least now the scale of the issue is known. more…

Priyanka Shah: Antimicrobial Resistance—a ticking time bomb

9 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Priyanka ShahIt is estimated that by 2050 infections that have become drug resistant will result in a global loss of 10 million lives annually. This chilling revelation was the crux of a report released last month, titled “Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations,” commissioned by the UK government, and led by renowned economist Jim O’Neill.

At present over 700 000 people die annually due to drug resistant infections. According to O’Neill’s report, by 2050 AMR will cost over $100 trillion annually. more…

Madhukar Pai and Barry R Bloom: TB elimination—India can lead the way

8 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Public hospital microscopy centerAs the Prime Minister of India speaks to the US Congress today, a neglected epidemic threatens India’s progress. It’s not Ebola or Zika, but rather tuberculosis—an ancient disease that silently kills one Indian every 90 seconds. In one year’s time TB will sicken over 2.2 million Indians and kill 300 000. Between 2006 and 2014, TB cost the Indian economy a staggering $340 billion. Because TB strikes people in the prime of their lives, it’s the third leading cause of healthy years of life lost.

India also has the highest number of patients with multidrug resistant TB in the world, including cases that are nearly impossible to cure. more…

The SOCHARA Team on providing community health in India

27 May, 16 | by BMJ

The Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action (SOCHARA), an Indian NGO, is recognised widely for its promotion of community health through networking, innovative training, research, policy engagement, and solidarity with movements and networks such as the People’s Health Movement, medico friend circle, and COPASAH. Recently the occasion of SOCHARA’s silver jubilee gave us the opportunity to reflect on 25 years of experience. The SOCHARA family is large not just because of the “once you enter, you will always be a part” culture but also for its partnerships and solidarity. This was well reflected in the diversity of participants at the meeting. Also in attendance were those who received and continue to receive mentorship in their respective community health journeys from SOCHARA members over the years. Our ethos of social justice, scholar activism, and non-hierarchy have reportedly played a role in shaping the work culture of several individuals and organisations. more…

Soumyadeep Bhaumik’s review of South Asian medical papers—May 2016

24 May, 16 | by BMJ

soumyadeep bhaumikIt is summer in South Asia, and it seems to be getting hotter than ever before (though I have been spared this year). Climate change is expected to have major consequences in the region with Bangladesh at the top of the risk index for global climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for nine consecutive years now. Recently the baseline results of a cohort study to see the health effects of climate change in Bangladesh were published. The future will unfold through the lens of this cohort and hopefully force the global leaders to act before the damage becomes irreversible.  more…

Yogesh Jain, R Srivatsan, and Antony Kollannur: Heatwave in India

6 May, 16 | by BMJ

india_heatwaveSevere heat wave conditions have been reported across India through the month of April this year. The situation has been especially severe in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamilnadu. Most affected are the vulnerable poor, the elderly, and those with health complications.

We spoke to some people to see how they cope with the heat:

“We have to work to earn our living. Drink water and keep moving. We can’t stop.”

“I take care to sit in the shade and sell bananas. I drink water, buttermilk, and lime juice.” more…

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