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South Asia

Madhukar Pai and Nimalan Arinaminpathy: How can India overcome tuberculosis?

3 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

tb_indiaIndia reports more cases of tuberculosis than any other country. This much is well known. However, nobody quite knows the true magnitude of the TB problem in the country.

For one, we do not know the number of TB patients who do not seek care or who remain undiagnosed, but we refer to this often as the “missing million.” Also, until recently, we did not have the foggiest idea of the number of TB patients treated in India’s vast, fragmented private sector. Currently, many private providers and hospitals do not notify the government of TB cases, despite TB being made a notifiable disease in 2012.

This can change. more…

Pradip Kharya: Delhi’s chikungunya outbreak

27 Sep, 16 | by BMJ Group

photo-1-1In 2006 India experienced one of its worse chikungunya outbreaks, when more than 1.5m cases were reported. The current outbreak in Delhi has claimed at least 15 lives so far, and the city’s hospitals are overloaded because of demand from neighbouring states such as Rajsthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. more…

Soham D Bhaduri: How we can improve the specialty status of family medicine in India

15 Sep, 16 | by BMJ

Soham Dinabandhu BhaduriA few weeks ago I was interviewing Dr Ashoka Prasad, a psychiatrist and campaigner for improving the rights of those with mental illness, for a popular Indian medical news portal, and was grabbed by a point that he made. The interview was mainly about the state of mental healthcare in India, yet Prasad stressed the role of primary healthcare in providing a foundation for effective psychiatric care, and the criminal under-emphasis of the importance of primary care that we see in India today.

Dr Prasad also expressed his disappointment that only two institutions in the country have thus far expressed their interest in offering a postgraduate course in family medicine. more…

Madhukar Pai: New insights into the tuberculosis problem in India’s private sector

26 Aug, 16 | by BMJ

Madhukar Pai

As a result of the overuse or misuse of antibiotics, antimicrobial resistant superbugs represent an extraordinary threat to global health. This threat is particularly great in India, the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics and the country facing the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. Two studies, published simultaneously in The Lancet Infectious Diseases this week, provide several new insights into the problem of tuberculosis in India’s vast, mostly unregulated private sector. more…

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…

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