WHO: New Multidrug Resistant TB Treatment Could Be Game Changer

WHO: New Multidrug Resistant TB Treatment Could Be Game Changer

The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is recommending a new easier and cheaper treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis that it says will save the lives of tens of thousands of people.

The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is recommending a new easier and cheaper treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis that it says will save the lives of tens of thousands of people.

GENEVA—
The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending a new easier and cheaper treatment for multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that it says will save the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Every year, nearly 500,000 men, women and children worldwide develop multidrug resistant tuberculosis. And, each year, 190,000 of these people die. The WHO says the death rate is high because fewer than 20 percent of the patients are being properly treated.

Mario Raviglione, director of WHO’s Global TB Program, said a new test and a new treatment regimen could be a game changer for those with multidrug resistant TB.

Two recommendations

“These two new recommendations from WHO enable MDR-TB patients – one, to benefit from a test that will quickly identify who is eligible for the shorter MDR-TB treatment regimen and two, complete treatment in half the time at nearly half the cost of today,” Raviglione said.

A doctor examines a tuberculosis patient in a government TB hospital in Allahabad, India, March 24, 2014. A new treatment regimen for the disease costs less than $1,000 per patient and can be completed between nine and 12 months.

A doctor examines a tuberculosis patient in a government TB hospital in Allahabad, India, March 24, 2014. A new treatment regimen for the disease costs less than $1,000 per patient and can be completed between nine and 12 months.

The new diagnostic test yields results in just 24 to 48 hours, down from the three months or longer currently required.

The shorter treatment regimen costs less than $1,000 per patient and can be completed between nine and 12 months.

Conventional treatment programs for people with multidrug resistant TB take between 18 and 24 months to complete at a cost of $1,500 to $3,000.

Treatment outcome

Raviglione says that globally about 50 percent of those following this lengthy, costly treatment are cured. He said the other 50 percent either die or continue to live with this illness for years.

He said about one-quarter of the patients become discouraged and abandon the treatment regimen before it is ended.

“[They] abandon treatment because the treatment lasts, as you probably know, up to two years … with drugs that we all know are fairly toxic in a way. They have side effects and they are not really liked by patients who have to take them,” Raviglione said.

There are about 400 labs in developing countries that are able to conduct the new test and treatment programs. The WHO believes most people with multidrug resistant TB will be able to access the new options.

WHO Urges Pregnant Women to Avoid Rio Olympics

WHO Urges Pregnant Women to Avoid Rio Olympics

A municipal worker prepares insecticide to be sprayed at Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016. The Sambadrome will be the site of the archery competition during the Rio Olympics.

A municipal worker prepares insecticide to be sprayed at Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016. The Sambadrome will be the site of the archery competition during the Rio Olympics.

The World Health Organization on Thursday warned women against traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmissions, including Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Olympics.

“There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly (children being born with unusually small heads) and other brain malformations and disorders in babies born to women who were infected with Zika virus during pregnancy,” the U.N. health agency said.

WHO urged the sex partners of pregnant women to practice safe sex or abstain from sex for the remainder of the pregnancy, if they have recently returned from visits to Rio or other areas where the virus is circulating.

The agency also advised all Olympics visitors and athletes heading for Rio or other virus-affected areas to wear clothing that covers much of the body and to use insect repellent. In addition, they should stay in rooms that are air-conditioned and keep windows closed, the agency said.

Because Zika can be transmitted through unprotected sex, WHO said travelers should use condoms while in Rio, and for four weeks after leaving the country, they should abstain from sex altogether.

Visitors were advised people to avoid impoverished and overcrowded areas of the huge city, such as those that lack proper sanitation or water mains.

About 500,000 tourists are expected to travel to Brazil for the Olympics, which run from August 5 through September 18.

Earlier this week, a Canadian professor said the games should either be postponed or moved elsewhere because of the Zika outbreak, to avoid spreading the virus even more widely around the globe.

Brazil has been at the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, which affects 58 countries and territories.

Officials from the International Olympic Committee say there is no justification for moving the games, and that they are confident about precautions being taken by the World Health Organization to address the Zika outbreak.

 

WHO Guidelines Aim to Help Millions of Victims of Female Genital Mutilation

WHO Guidelines Aim to Help Millions of Victims of Female Genital Mutilation

А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation

А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation

GENEVA—Every year, the World Health Organization reports that some 3 million girls, most under the age of 15, are subject to female genital mutilation. This number adds to the hefty toll of more than 200 million girls and women already living with the harmful consequences of this brutal, inhumane practice.

For the first time, WHO is issuing guidelines to help health workers provide better physical and psychological care for these girls and women.

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, involves the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is prevalent in 30 African countries, as well as a few countries in Asia and the Middle East. In addition, with increased global migration, more cases of FGM are occurring in Europe and North America.

Lale Say, coordinator in WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, says FGM can cause as pain, severe bleeding and even death.

“It has high risks during pregnancy and childbirth, both for the woman who is delivering, but also for her baby,” Say said. “It can cause obstetric tears, difficult labor and even loss of the baby at the time of the delivery. Other health problems, longer-term health problems, include … psychological risks, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

WHO notes that health workers often are unaware of the negative consequences of FGM and do not know how to treat them. The health agency’s new recommendations focus on preventing and treating obstetric complications, and on helping women with depression and anxiety disorders. The guidelines also warn against the so-called medicalization of FGM.

To that end, doctors must refuse requests from family members to perform FGM, says WHO medical officer Doris Chou.

“Medicalization is never acceptable because it violates medical ethics, as it is a harmful practice,” Chou said. “Medicalization itself perpetuates FGM, and the risks outweigh any perceived benefits. … As health care providers, we actually need to recall that we need to uphold the Hippocratic oath — and that is to do no harm.”

WHO says the guidelines can help ongoing global efforts to end female genital mutilation by better informing the health community about the many health risks associated with the practice.

Patient Recovering from First US Penis Transplant

Patient Recovering from First US Penis Transplant

May 16, 2016

Dr. Dicken Ko, director of Massachusetts General Hospital's urology program, shakes hands with surgical team members after a news conference at the hospital in Boston to announce the first penis transplant in the United States, May 16, 2016.

Dr. Dicken Ko, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s urology program, shakes hands with surgical team members after a news conference at the hospital in Boston to announce the first penis transplant in the United States, May 16, 2016.

A Massachusetts man is recovering from the United States’ first penis transplant, and doctors in Boston say they are “cautiously optimistic” he will make a full recovery.

Sixty-four-year old Thomas Manning lost his penis to cancer in 2012 and was given a new one last week thanks to an anonymous dead donor.

Manning said he wanted to go public about his surgery, which took 15 hours, to encourage others who may be ashamed or humiliated by the loss of a sex organ.

If all goes well, doctors say Manning will regain full urinary and sexual functions. They also say they want to ensure the operation is a success before they perform it on others, including wounded soldiers.

The world’s first successful penis transplant was undertaken last year in South Africa.

It was tried in China about 10 years ago, but the patient asked doctors to remove the organ because he and his wife had psychological problems.

Manning’s doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital said his psychological state will play a big role in his recovery.

“Emotionally, he’s doing amazing,” Dr. Curtis Cetrulo told a news conference Monday. “I’m really impressed with how he’s handling things. … He wants to be whole again. He does not want to be in the shadows.”

The Boston Herald reported that Cetrulo was among the lead surgeons on a team of more than 50.

Third Decade of LUMS: The Celebration

Third Decade of LUMS: The Celebration

Third Decade of LUMS: The Celebration

Third Decade of LUMS: The Celebration

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Pro Chancellor LUMS, Syed Babar Ali, welcomed guests at an exclusive ceremony to celebrate the third decade of LUMS on April 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM. He was joined by Rector LUMS, Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood and member Management Committee, Mr. Shahid Hussain. Business leaders from Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad also joined faculty and students to commemorate all those individuals and organisations that helped make LUMS a provider of world class education for all.

Further dignitaries included members from the US consulate, DFID, USAID as well as representatives from Pakistani industry such as Fatima Fertilizer, ATS group, Masood Textile, Fast Cables, Mitchells and Sialkot International Airport Limited, amongst others.

The master of ceremony, Adeel Hashmi, began the ceremony by inviting the Vice Chancellor LUMS, Dr. Sohail Naqvi, for his opening remarks.

Dr. Sohail Naqvi recounted the glorious journey of LUMS from a rented building in Gulberg to an established world class University. He shared his vision for the future of LUMS and reaffirmed the University’s goals to take LUMS still higher on the world map; he said there were no challenges, only opportunities in our quest for the best quality of education and research. He thanked the donors for their contributions and acknowledged their support that made it possible for LUMS to keep its doors open to all bright students to achieve their dreams, regardless of their financial status. He emphasised that the Need Blind Admissions at LUMS needs support from everyone who cares for the future of Pakistan.

Rector, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood stressed on the need for investing in education in Pakistan. He thanked the donor community, including the Gurmani family, for their generous support throughout the years. He also acknowledged the support from DFID and USAID to LUMS for the NOP Programme. He shared some proud financial aid numbers with the audience; PKR 500 Million in 2014-15 which will reach over PKR 700 Million in 2016-17.

LUMS NOP scholar Bilal Rana also shared his experience of joining LUMS. Hailing from Muzaffargarh, Bilal was admitted under the LUMS National Outreach Programme which covered all his expenses, including a full tuition waiver, free accommodation and living support. He shared how the LUMS experience has transformed his life forever and ended his speech with words of gratitude for all the donors and urged everyone to keep investing in this life changing programme.

Syed Babar Ali thanked all the guests for their participation in the event and their unwavering support for world class higher education in Pakistan. The speeches were followed by a networking dinner that allowed for further exchange of fond memories, past anecdotes and some great ideas and plans for the future.

 

Consultative meeting on art and culture at PU ISCS

Consultative meeting on art and culture at PU ISCS

Consultative meeting on art and culture at PU ISCS

Consultative meeting on art and culture at PU ISCS

LAHORE: (Saturday, May 14, 2016): Punjab University Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, in collaboration with the Danish Center for Culture and Development (CKU) arranged a consultative meeting on “research study on the analysis of linkages between art, culture, peace, sustainable development and reconciliation in Pakistan” here on Saturday.

The team from CKU including Ammara Durrani and Muhammad Ejaz and from PU Dr. Zakria, Dr. Rubeena, Safdar Abbas, Shawaiz, Dr. Alia, Asma Zafar, Shermeen Bano, Iqra, and experts from all walks of life including parliamentarians, senior bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers, academicians, and art and culture activists attended the meeting. Participants argued that over the years we have undermined our local culture which created discrimination and violence in society. Because of non-appreciation of art and culture, our creative industry could not grow. The meeting ended with a consensus opinion that we should promote indigenous art and culture to create social harmony and sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali has assumed the charge of Vice Chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali has assumed the charge of Vice Chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali has assumed the charge of Vice Chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali has assumed the charge of Vice Chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali has assumed the charge of Vice Chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad, in pursuance of Government of the Punjab, Higher Education Department, Lahore Notification No. SO(Univ.)5-3/09.P dated 17-12-2014

PMDC Approves Increased Admission Seats for Medical Colleges in Punjab

PMDC Approves Increased Admission Seats for Medical Colleges in Punjab

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has increased the admission seats in seven medical colleges of health department, Pakistan

This decision came with a condition that heads of these medical colleges would not increase any number of seats in coming future on their own.

The details of the new seats in medical colleges are as under:

Punjab Medical College = Old 250. New 325.
Nishtar Medical College Multan = Old 250. New 325.
Qaud-i-Azam Medical College = Old 300. new 325.
Nishtar Institute of Dentistry Multan = Old 50. New 66.
Services Institute of Medical Sciences Lahore = Old 150. New 200.
Sheikh Zaid Rahimyar Khan = Old 100. New 150.
Nawaz Sharif Medical College = Old 50. New 100.

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) for redefining HEC role

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) for redefining HEC role

Islamabad – In the light of the 18th constitutional amendment, the role of Higher Education Commission (HEC) should be redefined and recommendations of implementation commission regarding higher education sector should be implemented in true letter and spirit.
It was demanded by Dr Kaleemullah Berach, the central secretary general and president Balochistan chapter of federation of all Pakistan universities academic staff association (FAPUASA).
While appreciating the formation of higher education set up by Sindh and Punjab governments, he demanded of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to realise their constitutional obligations and undertake steps for promotion of higher education through expediting the process for establishment of provincial higher education set-ups. As the universities are already under the administrative control of the provincial governments, the provincial governments should also realise their financial responsibilities as well.
He emphasised over provincial government of Balochistan to fulfil its commitments promised in their elections manifesto regarding establishment of provincial HEC.
Reacting to the recent vice chancellors’ meeting at Islamabad, he stated, “Implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment is our moral and constitutional responsibility and it was not the mandate of the HEC management and vice chancellors to criticise it. Parliament is the sole right platform where such debates should held.” He further stated that university faculty as well as civil society would not accept any plot against 18th constitutional amendment.
He was of the view that in the light of 18th constitutional amendment, the federal government should allocate the development funds as per the provincial share prescribed in National Finance Commission (NFC) award. Under the new formula of current NFC Award, approximately 51.74% of shares were directed to Punjab, 24.55% to Sindh, 14.62% to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 9.09% to Balochistan. But unfortunately, in this current higher education budget, smaller provinces had been ignored in development funds and allocation had not been made according to this NFC formula.
He demanded that quotas for provinces and regions for appointments in all grades must be religiously followed and only real natives of Balochistan and other smaller provinces should be considered against the legitimate quotas.
He vowed that FAPUASA as representative body of universities’ faculty would continue its role for promotion of higher education in Pakistan and for the protection legitimate rights of federal units.

HIV positive women can have safe offspring after treatment!

HIV positive women can have safe offspring after treatment!

Islamabad – World AIDS Day was observed on Monday as an opportunity to harness the power of social change and close the access gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region comprising 22 countries including Pakistan is using the slogan “HIV treatment controls the virus. Treat for Life. Prevent for Life.” This is a call for action so that every individual living with HIV can enjoy the highest attainable level of health through lifelong access to good quality HIV care and treatment.
The antiretroviral therapy has become less toxic and easier to administer, and people living with HIV can take it in the right combination of medicines to control the virus and bring it down to undetectable levels. This keeps the immune system sufficiently strong to fight opportunistic infections and cancers. Thus people living with HIV can now live long, healthy and productive lives.
On this occasion, Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, has affirmed, “HIV treatment reduces the virus to undetectable levels, and protects people against diseases. Secondary to the preventive benefit to individuals of reducing the virus to undetectable levels, there is a benefit to public health in general. Implementing ART programmes reduces the likelihood of transmission from people living with HIV to others. This is a major public health gain that will eventually result in curbing the HIV epidemic.”
“Effective HIV treatment will help people living with HIV to avoid the transmission of their infection to their uninfected partners. Similarly, once the level of their infection has become undetectable, pregnant women living with HIV can give birth without passing the virus on to their babies,” he added.
He has called for adapting health systems to ensure that even the least privileged and most marginalised individuals are not excluded, while monitoring the treatment success in individuals. The government of Pakistan has been maintaining a sustained response to the HIV epidemic since the late-80s or early 90s through the National and Provincial AIDS Control Programme, UN agencies specially UNAIDS, WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNFPA, bilateral and multilateral donors, a large number of NGOs and CSOs operating at all levels. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has been financing a substantial portion of the HIV/AIDS response in Pakistan. Since June 2011, the Provincial AIDS Control Programs are leading the implementation of the policies, strategies and guidelines developed by them.
Pakistan falls under the category of a high-risk but low prevalence country for HIV-AIDS with a concentrated epidemic meaning that the prevalence in traditional risk groups exceeds 5 per cent. The National AIDS Control Programme estimates that there are around 100,000 HIV cases in Pakistan, with an overall general population prevalence ranging between 0.05 per cent – less than 0.1 per cent during the last decade.
However, the epidemic is expanding among the country’s estimated 150,000 injecting drug users.
According to Dr Michel Thieren, WHO Representative in Pakistan, Pakistan faces a continued risk of HIV transmission as a result of poverty, low literacy, gender discrimination, ignorance about modes of transmission and the stigma that prohibits people with risky behaviours from seeking HIV testing or care. He mentioned that WHO had been supporting the programne since the early 90s with a focus on enhancing capacity of national and provincial HIV/AIDS programmes, supporting policy development, strengthening HIV/AIDS treatment and monitoring prevention of HIV transmission in healthcare settings alongside blood safety, in addition to HIV testing and counselling, and diagnosis and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections. It also helps the programme in resource mobilisation.
Dr Thieren stressed that while the multi-sectoral effort involving a large number of agencies belonging to different sectors was yielding good results in Pakistan, there was a need for better monitoring, surveillance and coordination among other programs including those for tuberculosis control, maternal and child health, and lady health workers. This would result in proper documentation and eschew duplication of efforts, he added. He emphasised on the need for eliminating barriers to the provision of anti-retroviral drugs to needy patients with proper privacy and counselling, while pursuing a gender-sensitive and human rights-based approach.

Scam of bogus attendances of children in schools unearthed in Rawalpindi

Scam of bogus attendances of children in schools unearthed in Rawalpindi

RAWALPINDI- Education department Rawalpindi has decided to take action, in scam of bogus attendances of students in certain schools of Rawalpindi City and Cantt.

Education department Rawalpindi has started checking of new enrolment in schools under the directives of provincial secretary schools education. During the course of checking scam of marking bogus attendances of the students in several schools has come to light.

According to sources, there were many bogus schools in the district as masses demanded the authorities to take action against such schools, which are playing with future of new generation.

Gearing up for AIDS-free generation – – AIDS Day celebrated in Lahore

Gearing up for AIDS-free generation – – AIDS Day celebrated in Lahore

LAHORE – Like other around the world, the World AIDS Day was observed across the country Monday to raise awareness and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries.
The Day is observed on December 1 every year under different themes to renew the commitment to fight against the menace. The 2014 theme for World AIDS Day is ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.’
Seminar, workshops and walks were arranged across the country including Lahore both at the private and government level to mark the day.
Speaking at a seminar arranged at a local hotel, Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq said that maximum resources would be provided for the control of HIV/AIDS as well as treatment of people affected by this virus. Director General Health Dr Zahid Pervaiz, Director Punjab AIDS Control Programme Dr Suleman Shahid, Deputy Programme Manager Faisal Majeed, Dr Altaf Tariq, Dr Mehmood Aftab, Dr Humayun Mirza, representatives of NGOs and a large number of people from different segments of the society attended the seminar.
Kh Salman Rafiq said that the performance of Punjab Aids Control Programme was outstanding and it would further be enhanced with the cooperation of NGOs serving in this field. He said that religious scholars, media and other notable of the society have a big responsibility of creating public awareness regarding preventive measures and proper treatment of affected patients. He said that blood bank system was being regulated to check the un-screened blood which was the major cause of spreading various diseases including HIV/AIDS. He said that Blood Transfusion Authority (BTA) has been activated and a timeframe was being given to the blood banks for registration. After that, blood banks which did not register themselves would not be allowed to work.
Director PACP Dr Suleman Shahid said that diagnostic and treatment facilities for the AIDS patients has been improved in Punjab and at present, nine centers in government hospitals of different cities were providing treatment facilities and free medicines. He said that so far 4436 patients have been registered on these centers. Moreover, six centers of PPTCT are working for the prevention of transfusion of HIV/AIDS from pregnant women to their babies. He said that government was spending Rs 1 lac on each AIDS patient. He presented a survey report of Mapping of Most at Risk Population, Punjab 2014. This survey was conducted in ten major cities of the province. He said that Punjab was the only province which has conducted this survey from its own financial resources.