Why response to drug-resistant tuberculosis lags, deadly disease in Togo prisons, while science leaps money lags . . .

By on .

Tuberculosis, Drug Resistance, and the History of Modern Medicine: From what may have been the first published randomized clinical drug trial, to  neglect when deaths declined in the affluent countries where “headlines are written,” to the widening fault lines that divided those who had to worry about tuberculosis, and those who could ignore it, to the chilling application of “selective primary health care” in which leading causes of death and disability were found too expensive to address, this look by Salmaan Keshavjee and Dr. Paul Farmer at the response to tuberculosis  is a history of modern medicine in its possibilities and failures.

Disease, death stalk cramped prisons: Fewer than half of the prisoners languishing in Togo’s prisons are convicts, according to this IRIN article, looking at conditions in facilities where 28 inmates died in the first three months of 2012. The rest are awaiting trial, sleeping head to toe — in shifts — while other prisoners wait there turn, their legs swelling from standing. The country launched a program to improve conditions six years ago, but while tuberculosis has spread in the prisons, little else has changed, the article says.

AIDS science leaping ahead, but will the money follow? What happens when, in an environment of flat-lined funding, a major scientific breakthrough shows that providing treatment to everyone who has HIV could turn the trajectory of the epidemic? This Reuters story looks at responses and possibilities following HPTN 052, which showed the benefits — both to patients and those yet uninfected, of treating patients before their immune systems begin to fail.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *