hepatitis news

Hepatitis: Will new evidence for “same-day test and treat” be a game-changer?

The article is based on an interview with one of the researchers who presented a game-changing study which shows it is feasible and possible to do the same-day test and treat for hepatitis. Currently, in some places, it takes weeks to 30-45 days from getting screened to beginning treatment (if at all). Same-day test and treat model is possible for hepatitis and may be for other disease interventions as we have to root out avoidable delays – which cause prolonged human suffering and may deter people to continue care. A new study published last month in the Journal of Hepatology can prove to be a game-changer as it provides strong evidence that the “same-day test and treat model” for hepatitis is feasible and possible. In light of this strong evidence, if governments have to keep their promise to end viral hepatitis by 2030, there must be no delay in fully making this model a reality for every person who needs hepatitis care. Why do people drop out of hepatitis-related care? One of the reasons why people dropped out of hepatitis-related care was the long-time gap between the screening test to initiating treatment (for those who need it). “Earlier, the turnaround time from sample collection to getting the report of hepatitis C viral load test was 30-45 days. This was one of the major treatment access barriers. Now, this time has been reduced to 5-7 days,” said Nalinikanta Raj Kumar, one of the co-authors of the study, who has spearheaded the Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE). “Same-day test and treat” model is the best possible way forward to ensure that people who opt for hepatitis screening are able to continue along the healthcare pathway. “Unless we replicate this model under the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, treatment uptake will remain low,” said Nalinikanta, who presented this model at 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) too. All happens in about 8 hours Pilot testing this same-day test and treatment model in Manipur, India (Manipur is an Indian state bordering Myanmar which is hard-hit by hepatitis and HIV both), the researchers screened people…

Symbolic image of TB bacteria

A new global plan launched to end TB in the next 101 months

Despite the promise by all countries to end TB by 2030 (and India to end TB by 2025), the decline in TB rates, deaths, and the number of new infections, is not steep enough to meet the target. A lot more action (and investment) needs to urgently happen if we are to #endTB in the next 101 months globally (and the next 41 months in India). That is why, the global Stop TB Partnership has unveiled a new costed plan for the world to end TB, the second leading cause of death, after COVID-19, from a single infectious-disease agent. The Global Plan to End TB 2023-2030 emphasises a new global focus on prevention and control of this neglected, and perhaps the oldest, airborne disease that still remains a health threat for every person on this planet earth, infecting 10 million people and killing 1.3 million of them every year. The Plan outlines the priority actions that could save millions of lives through early prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of TB with a total investment of US$ 250 billion between now and 2030. Of this, US$ 157 billion is for TB prevention and care, US$ 53 billion for vaccination once new vaccines are available, and US$ 40 billion to accelerate the development of new TB treatment regimens, diagnostics and a new TB vaccine. As pointed out by Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, the proposed investment of US$ 10 billion in new TB vaccines (as envisaged in this Plan) is 10 times less than what was injected into the research and development for COVID-19 vaccines with a compelling sense of urgency and purpose. So it should be possible to have a TB vaccine by 2025. TB response remains severely under-resourced Even as the global TB response remains severely under-resourced, and people with TB continue to experience some of the highest out-of-pocket expenditures, mobilising US$ 250 billion dollars in the next 7 years will indeed be a daunting task. But as pointed out by Dr Paula Fujiwara, Chair of the Global Plan Task Force, the economic return on…

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanmon Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus re-elected WHO DG

Dr Ghebreyesus to serve a second five-year term as DG WHO Geneva 24th May 2022: World Health Organization (WHO) Member States today re-elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve a second five-year term as Director-General of the world’s leading public health agency. Dr Tedros was first elected in 2017. His re-election was confirmed during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was the sole candidate. Today’s vote was the culmination of an election process that began in April 2021 when the Member States were invited to submit proposals for candidates for the post of Director-General. The WHO Executive Board, meeting in January 2022, nominated Dr Tedros to stand for a second term. Dr Tedros’s new mandate officially commences on 16 August 2022. A Director-General can be re-appointed once, in accordance with World Health Assembly rules and procedures. During his first term, Dr Tedros instituted a wide-ranging Transformation of the WHO, aimed at increasing the Organization’s efficiency driving impact at the country level to promote healthier lives, protect more people in emergencies and increase equitable access to health. He also guided WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the health impacts of multiple other humanitarian crises. Before first being appointed WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–to 2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–to 2012. Dr Tedros had also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterates commitment to Ebola response despite another attack 10 March 2019 COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of Breastfeeding 2 August 2021 WHO denies coronavirus cover-up phone call between Xi Jinping and Dr. Tedros 10 May 2020 #Breaking: INDIA’s ASHA honoured with WHO’s Global Health Leaders Awards 23 May 2022 WHO Director-General urges world leaders to protect health from climate change 11 September 2019

Innate lymphoid cells (green) near and within a small area of inflammation, or granuloma, in a non-human primate infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB)

Will the Himalayan Indian state eliminate tuberculosis by 2023?

Article based on an interview with the head of district TB programme of Kangra in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Will Kangra keep the promise to eliminate TB by 2023? Only 21 months are left to keep the promise, and with alarming numbers of new cases and deaths (and additional adverse impact of COVID), are we on track? Two years before the pandemic had struck us, the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh in India had declared that it will eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2023 – two years before the national #endTB target (2025), and seven years before the global #endTB target (2030). State Chief Minister’s dedicated initiative had further galvanized the efforts towards containing the ancient disease. But are we on track? We must remember that an infectious disease anywhere is an infectious disease everywhere. TB anywhere is TB everywhere. If we are to eliminate TB from our homes and communities, it also must be eliminated from all other home and communities around the world. The same holds true for COVID-19. TB care failed to reach over one-third of TB patients in India in 2020 As per the latest Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO), only 63% of the estimated total number of people with active TB disease were diagnosed and put on treatment in 2020. Over half a million people died of TB in the same year. Even before the pandemic had struck the world, most parts of the world were not on track to end TB by 2030. India was no different, with an appallingly low TB decline rate – year after year – then the required decline necessary to eliminate the disease. TB services too were adversely affected when COVID-19 lockdown was clamped in March 2020. After an initial couple of months of hiccups, Kangra’s dynamic District TB Officer Dr RK Sood led from the front in mobilising his team to rise up to the challenge. Home delivery of TB medicines was an important activity of Dr Sood’s team to help people with TB stay on treatment. Uninterrupted treatment is essential to…

World Health Organization

WHO and Global Fund Warn Inequalities Block Progress Towards Ending AIDS, TB and Malaria

The State of inequality: a new report from the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria GENEVA, Thursday, 9 December 2021 – Inequities have been widely acknowledged as barriers to achieving global and national goals and targets in HIV, TB and malaria programs. However, the magnitude and extent of underlying health inequalities have remained poorly documented and understood. Until those inequalities are better identified, and their consequences better understood, it will be hard for programmes to meet people’s real health needs. Now, for the first time, a new report from the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, systematically assesses the global State of inequality: HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. How are inequalities hindering the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria? The report represents an important step forward in understanding how inequalities are hindering the fight against the three diseases. Using the latest available global data for 32 health indicators up to 186 countries shows that while national averages of HIV, TB and malaria indicators have generally improved in the past decade, the poorest, least educated and rural subgroups tend to remain at a disadvantage across most HIV, TB and malaria indicators. “Although great strides have been made to expand health services and prevention efforts, we must focus more on reaching the poor, rural and least educated populations who bear the brunt of these diseases,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. The report shows, for example, that available data on HIV testing among men reveals a gap of at least 20 percentage points between the poorest and richest households in 27 out of 48 countries with the gap has increased over time. Many families affected by tuberculosis spend a substantial amount of their income on expenses related to the disease – especially if the household is poor. Data from 21 countries show that 20-92% of households spend at least a fifth of their income on TB-related costs. For malaria, the poorest, the least educated and rural groups reported lower levels of timely care-seeking for children under age 5…

Health news

Nearby mining activities put the  population at increased risk of acute respiratory infection, TB and road traffic accident: Study

ICMR Report on Health Assessment of communities living near Raigarh New Delhi. A new study establishes that nearby mining activities put the population at increased risk of diseases such as acute respiratory infection (ARI), tuberculosis, road traffic accident (RTA), etc. This study was conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Research in Tribal Health (NIRTH) on Health Assessment and Projection of Health of People living in Tamnar Block, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. The study was conducted on receiving a directive from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, on the directives of National ST Commission to undertake a Hence, the study was carried out to assess the Health & Nutritional status and cause of death among the tribe residing in Tamnar. This is the first such study undertaken in this area. The investigation included the collection of data on demographic and socio-economic particulars of the households, anthropometry; clinical examination for general morbidity and nutritional deficiency disorders. About 1713 individuals of different ages from 984 households in 33 villages were surveyed. The study establishes that nearby mining activities put the tribal population of Raigarh at increased risk of diseases such as acute respiratory infection (ARI), tuberculosis, road traffic accident (RTA), etc. It was also observed that there is a high prevalence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) (20.9%) This was much higher than the NFHS-4 Chhattisgarh report where it was only 2.2 % in the last 2 weeks preceding the survey. The reason could be due to environmental pollution or poor air quality index. (Page 40 of the report) Overall, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for more than half of the deaths followed by infectious and parasitic diseases, injuries and suicide. About 20% of the deaths were not elsewhere classifiable which include ill-defined and unknown cause of mortality, age-related physical debility, unspecified abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fever. Among NCDs, cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death. Reacting on the study Rinchin (writer and activist based out of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh) said- “These findings vindicate our claims of serious health conditions among the residents due to pollution from mines…