Access to medicine, diagnostics and human rights . . . We’re reading how to fight TB

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NewWWRJust 2 percent of people with the severest cases of drug-resistant TB currently have access to new, more effective treatments that could save their lives – Remember the excitement a couple of years back when the first new kinds of drugs to treat TB to be developed in half a century were approved? When delamanid and bedaquiline came along, they represented drugs of last resort for thousands of people globally, health responders at Médecins Sans Frontières’ Access Campaign note. They released their fourth edition of DR-TB Drugs Under a Microscope this week, showing how price and lags in clinical trial testing continue among the barriers keeping these new medicines along with effective re-purposed medicines out of the hands of the vast majority of people who need them.

Improving diagnostics to achieve the 90-90-90 TB global targets – You can’t be appropriately treated if you’re not diagnosed, this African Society for Laboratory Medicine article notes, but while increases in rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis threaten progress against the disease, nearly a quarter of drug-resistant TB cases in Africa went undiagnosed or unrecorded in 2014. This article draws attention to the policies and priorities in diagnostic development and adoption necessary to achieve targets of diagnosing and treating 90 percent of those with TB, including 90 percent of the most vulnerable, and reach a 90 percent treatment success rate.

Challenging the imprisonment of TB patients – This update on a Kenya case in which two men sick with tuberculosis “alleged to have interrupted their treatment” shows one of the ways talking about “failures to adhere” to TB treatment, instead of talking about failures to reach TB patients with appropriate medicine, support and information, can lead to bad public health practice. According to this update from the Kenyan legal and ethical rights network Kelin, a high court will decide on World TB Day if confining tuberculosis patients to prison for the duration of their treatment is a violation of human rights. The update, attached court documents, and a video, Stop sending TB patients to prison, explain why it is, and how the policy defeats its own supposed purpose.

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