On this World Malaria Day, let us pledge to “Test. Treat. Track” every malaria case

Health Care No Comments

India is a malaria endemic country. The reported malaria cases in the country last year have declined by 23% compared to 2016, yet India still accounts for 87% of malaria cases in the South Asia region. Also, as per the World Malaria Report, India has among the weakest malaria surveillance systems globally, with only 8% of cases detected by the surveillance system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has set a target of reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%, reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

There is still a long road ahead before the goal of elimination of malaria throughout the country by 2030 is achieved.

Malaria is entirely a preventable disease. It is also a treatable disease provided it is diagnosed and treated in time. The symptoms of malaria are non specific and can be variable. So it may be mistaken for other diseases such as viral infections, typhoid and the diagnosis of malaria may be missed as a result.

It is important to remember here that malaria is not a clinical diagnosis; the diagnosis has to be confirmed by microscopy or a rapid diagnostic test (RDT).

The ‘T3’ initiative of the WHO Global Malaria Program supports malaria-endemic countries in their efforts to achieve universal coverage with diagnostic testing and antimalarial treatment, as well as in strengthening their malaria surveillance systems

T3 stands for Test. Treat. Track., which means:

Every suspectedmalaria case should be tested
Every confirmedcase should be treated with a quality-assured antimalarial medicine
The disease should be trackedthrough a timely and accurate surveillance system.

Adopting and implementing this initiative will be a step in the right direction in the efforts to control and eliminate malaria.

Every patient of fever must be investigated for malaria to either confirm the diagnosis or exclude it as a cause of fev

Combating medically important antibiotic use in food-producing animals

Health Care Comments Off

The use of antibiotics in the food industry is a less-recognized, but rapidly emerging cause of global antibiotic resistance.

About 80% of use of medically important antibiotics occurs in the animal sector in some countries, primarily to enhance growth in healthy animals. They are used in food-producing animals to treat and control bacterial infections in the presence of disease (therapeutic use), and for disease prevention (prophylactic use) and growth promotion (subtherapeutic use) in the absence of disease.

The widespread misuse and indiscriminate use of antibiotics in agriculture is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans. Development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals, which can then be transmitted to humans via food and other transmission routes.

Some of the antibiotics that are used in animals are usually the last line of treatment for critical infections in humans or are one among the very limited number of treatment options available for serious infections in humans.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Antimicrobial use in food-producing animals can lead to selection and dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals, which can then be transmitted to humans via food and other transmission routes.”

The WHO published new guidelines last year on the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals and has recommended that farmers and the food industry stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals.

The new WHO guidelines call for the following actions regarding the use of medically important antibiotics in animals:

  • Overall reduction in use of all classes of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals
  • Complete restriction of all classes of medically important antimicrobials for purposes of growth promotion in food-producing animals
  • Complete restriction for prevention of infectious diseases in healthy animals that have not yet been clinically diagnosed unless animals in close vicinity have been diagnosed with a disease that requires such use
  • Medically important antimicrobials should not be used to either to treat or control dissemination of a clinically diagnosed infectious disease identified within a group of food-producing animals
  • Testing of sick animals, when possible, to determine the most appropriate antibiotic for their infection
  • Selection of antibiotics from the WHO list of those that are considered “least important to human health” and avoidance of those considered “highest priority, critically important”
  • Additional recommendations include vaccination of animals to reduce the need for antibiotics, as well as improved production, processing, and hygiene practices.

There is also increasing attention toward the identification and development of alternatives to antibiotics for use in animals.

  • Vaccines that could reduce the use of medically important antibiotics
  • Microbial-derived products, such as probiotics and bacteriophage gene products
  • Non-nutritive phytochemicals, including prebiotics
  • Immune-related products, such as antibodies, microbial peptides, and cytokines
  • Chemicals, including enzymes
  • Regulatory pathways to enable the licensure of alternatives to antibiotics

Ambitious target of TB-free India by 2025 will require continuous and consistent efforts

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

There is a need to mobilize resources further and increasing awareness on the importance of immunization

New Delhi, 14th March 2018: Year 2025 has been set as the deadline for a tuberculosis (TB)-free India by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This is five years ahead of the global deadline set by the WHO. About 25 years, TB was declared as an emergency, and since then, different countries have adopted varied strategies to keep it under check.

The number of TB-related deaths in India in 2016 was more than 4 lakh, a number that is one-third of the global toll.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “The target set for a TB-free India sounds ambitious and promising. However, it remains to be seen what efforts go into actualizing the same. TB is the third leading cause of years of life lost (YLLs) lost, in the country. It is caused by bacilli spread through droplet nuclei (less than 5 microns) infection. Droplet nuclei can remain suspended in the air for extended periods, and thus are a source of exposure to susceptible individuals. Split AC is not the right atmosphere for sputum-positive cases. Natural windows and fans are better alternatives. TB does not spread through handshakes, using public toilets, sharing food and utensils, blood transfusion and casual contact. TB can be of lungs (pulmonary), or outside the lungs (extra pulmonary). In 85% of cases, lungs are involved.”

Contact tracing increases community awareness about the disease and interrupts the chain of transmission of the disease through early diagnosis of cases.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Early diagnosis and complete treatment is important to prevent and control TB. To address the problem of rising drug resistance, TB is a notifiable disease. The approach to all notifiable diseases should therefore be based on DTR “Diagnose, Treat & Report”: Diagnose early, using sputum GeneXpert test; Treat: Complete and effective treatment based on national guidelines, using FDC; and Report: Mandatory reporting.”

Some tips from HCFI.

  • Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing or holding your hands near your mouth or nose.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Discard used tissues in a plastic bag, then seal and throw it away.
  • Do not attend work or school.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Sleep in a room away from other family members.
  • Ventilate your room regularly. TB spreads in small closed spaces. Put a fan in you window to blow out air that may contain bacteria.

« Previous Entries