We can heal: The title of this story compilation from 30 children grappling with tuberculosis in 30 countries, are the words of a girl in Colombia, who recovered from the disease but lost much of her hearing to the treatment. The stories and photos of children losing their health, youth, and lives to a preventable and treatable disease are wrenching, and vividly illustrate gaps in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support that allow that to happen. Their portraits also give an inspiring look at resilient spirits and make the recommendations at the end of each section impossible to ignore. The Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and Treatment Action Group (TAG) dedicate the collection to children affected by drug-resistant tuberculosis and those who work to meet their needs.
Test me, Treat me, a drug-resistant TB manifesto: This manifesto from patients and providers through Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign describes the price drug-resistant tuberculosis patients pay, for living in the path of a disease that feeds on inequities, for living out of reach of fast, accurate diagnostic tools and effective treatment and support. The manifesto calls for response: Universal access to drug-resistant diagnosis and treatment; effective, tolerable, affordable treatment; financial support for research and development, and it offers specifics. You can learn about some of the people who signed the manifesto — from Russia, Myanmar, South Africa, India, Swaziland, you can add your support, or, if you have been directly affected by drug-resistant tuberculosis, you can sign it yourself here.
Exposed: Watch the trailer for the upcoming series of four short films from Aeras that breaks down the global impact of tuberculosis through the stories of those fighting the disease on its front lines. Their stories, and the input of leading physicians, scientists and advocates offer an authoritative look at the needs that must be addressed to relegate this deadly disease to history.
MMWR Trends in TB United States 2012: This look at tuberculosis in the United States in 2012 shows what can be done, but also the vulnerabilities that remain in a resource-rich country. The 9,951 new tuberculosis cases reported in the United States in 2012 represent a 6 percent drop from the number the preceding year, making the decline steady for 20 years. At the same time, the continued disproportionate impact of the disease here among foreign born, HIV-infected, incarcerated and other populations made vulnerable by health, resources and circumstance, mean that efforts are falling short. In addition, the report cautions against at least one of the ways success has led to failure in the past, noting that counties reporting no TB in the preceding two years must maintain prevention and control efforts — efforts that are often insufficient even in high burden regions — noting that “TB can cross borders.”
The Flip Side: US is unprepared to face another TB epidemic: Dr. Lee Reichman of New Jersey Medical School’s Global Tuberculosis Institute note the “good news” from the recent MMWR in The Hill’s Congress Blog, and offers a caution. While surges in disease capture policy makers’ attention, drops leads to reallocation of resources. “In other words, the program is eliminated rather than the disease,” he notes. The result? This country is not prepared for what can happen next, and has happened before, when totally drug-resistant tuberculosis can travel more easily than ever before.