U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah spoke at the opening session of the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board Meeting Thursday, addressing an audience of physician-scientists, industry representatives, advocates and government officials in addition to the ministers of health from Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. Shah commented on the current status of TB control efforts around the world, noting that, “we won’t meet the overall Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) unless we make some fundamental changes.”
Anneke Hesseling, MD, of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, visited the U.S. to attend the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 4th Annual Science of Dissemination and Implementation conference last week. While in town, she visited legislators on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of global health funding, and gave a presentation to physician-scientists and advocates at the United Nations Foundation entitled “TB in Children: A Global Crisis and a South African Perspective.” Science Speaks had the opportunity to speak with her after the presentation regarding integrating TB and HIV testing and services, the potential impact of the Gene Xpert rapid TB test on children, and hot other topics.
In a special edition of What We’re Reading, the following is a compilation of reports, news stories and statements released in honor of World TB Day, March 24, 2011. Content includes a response from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a report from Médecins Sans Frontières highlighting the fight against drug resistant tuberculosis and the need for new drugs, and a call to make TB vaccine development a priority in the Decade of Vaccines.
Continuing our series in recognition of World TB Day, Science Speaks interviewed David Rochkind, a celebrated photographer whose work has appeared in numerous international publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian and Newsweek. After getting his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, he moved to Caracas, Venezuela where he worked for six years as a photographer for various U.S. and European news outlets. He has been in Mexico City for the past two years. David has done three photo exhibits on tuberculosis; the most recent of which will be on display today (Friday March 25) from 10 am to 4 pm, and Tuesday March 29 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at Eastern Market in Washington, DC. His work will also be showing at Monmouth University in New Jersey for the month of April as part of their Global Understanding Conference.
In this interview, David talks about his most recent project covering multidrug-resistant TB in Eastern Europe.
Continuing our World TB Day series, the following is a guest blog post by Ernesto Jaramillo, Paul Nunn and Mario Raviglione of the Stop TB Department at the World Health Organization (WHO) discussing WHO’s new report issued today: Towards universal access to diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis by 2015 – WHO progress report 2011.
“Major progress has been made in TB control over the past 15 years, with 41 million people cured and up to 6 million deaths averted thanks to the wide implementation of proper TB control practices since 1995. The global TB incidence rate peaked in 2004 and has since started a slow decline. However, despite these achievements, TB is far from being conquered globally, with 1.7 million people dying of this curable disease every year. In addition, the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB in many countries worldwide is a serious threat to the progress achieved…”
As part of our series honoring World TB Day, the following is a commentary by Carol Dukes Hamilton, MD, senior scientist of Health and Developmental Sciences at FHI and associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center.
“Today is the day that we acknowledge the progress and the ongoing challenges associated with the second leading infectious disease killer in the world today—tuberculosis (TB). This ancient disease continues to take a tremendous human toll of 1.8 million lives annually. Without dramatic increases in funding and political commitment, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 10 million additional lives will be lost between now and 2015 to this preventable, curable disease – 4 million of them will be women and children…”
The following is a guest post by Cherise Scott, secretariat of the Stop TB Partnership Working Group on New TB Drugs. This post is the first in a series of special commentaries and interviews in honor of World TB Day, which is this Thursday, March 24.
“As we turn back and review the past year, it’s apparent just how significant the shift in strategy has been on the part of the TB research and development community in the search for new regimens to treat this scourge of mankind…”
Kevin M. DeCock, MD, director of the Center for Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks with Science Speaks about the fight against TB. In his own words, “TB remains very important. Here are a few research priorities for TB, and I think you can classify the research in different ways: operational, developmental, and epidemiological. The first question, an operational one, is how do we best use antiretroviral drugs? If we use them to prevent HIV, that’s very important because we will also prevent HIV-associated TB. If we use them in people infected with HIV, the question is when do we start therapy? How early to give the best maximum TB prevention benefit? …