Today, Prof Madhu Pai from McGill visited and gave two lectures.
The first lecture was at the Harvard School of Public Health and was a review of the landscape of TB diagnostics and therapeutics. Afterwards, I asked him about TB advocacy (the same question I asked Mario Raviglione a few weeks ago). Prof Pai agreed that strengthening advocacy and civil society needs to be an urgent priority. He suggested that TB advocates try to collaborate with the HIV advocacy community, because they are so much more powerful than we are.
The second lecture was at the Harvard Global Health Institute and was a dinner focusing on TB in the private sector of India. Basically, clinicians are completely unregulated and TB resistance is worsening dramatically.
Afterwards, I took Professor Pai aside and explained to him what I think needs to be done.
- An “all-out” global social media campaign, centered on WhatsApp and Facebook (www.facebook.com/tb) which recruits health care workers. We need a large TB PROOF chapter to be established in India.
- The manufacturing and distribution of millions of wristbands in the style of the LiveStrong Foundation. Distribution of those wristbands to health care workers.
- Mobilization of health care workers to ensure that every patient is appropriately diagnosed, gets molecular DST/ whole genome sequencing, and is treated with the correct regimen.
- A major focus on TB infection control in congregate settings.
- Aggressive fundraising for TB vaccine research.
There’s no time to lose. What do you think?
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