74 e-Letters

published between 2017 and 2020

  • Recent efforts to boost India’s plan of tuberculosis elimination
    Dear Editor,
    Pai et al put up a timely assessment of India’s ambition of achieving tuberculosis elimination by 2025.1 However, the authors seemed to have overlooked the major developments that have been introduced recently in the country. Inclusion of the updated facts could have enriched the discussion, I believe.
    In January 2017, a door to door campaign for active case finding for tuberculosis has been started by the Central TB Division (CTD).2 The scheme, if proved successful, has the capacity to effectively reduce the mean delay of two months between appearance of symptoms and initiation of treatment. This, along with introduction of bedaquiline at six referral sites and enhancing the use of cartridge based nucleic acid amplification test across the country, is expected to boost the performance of Revised National TB Control Programme in near future. In fact, CTD has already decided to start daily regimen in 104 districts, spread over five states.3 
    Now, apart from the budget, the future would also depend on successful vigilance on the dispensing pattern of anti tubercular drugs from private and informal sectors. A study earlier has demonstrated the use of steroids and fluoroquinolones by the pharmacists for probable cases of tuberculosis.5 With the warning against the silent rise of drug resistant tuberculosis and a projected 275% increase in the risk of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in India over next 20 years, the...
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  • RE: Is it prudent to recommend RUTF in India based on the results of this trial?
    This RUTF trial from India has compared the efficacy of  RUTF (centrally produced and locally produced) with augmented energy-dense home-prepared foods (comparison group) for home based management of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM). 
    I would like to draw attention of the authors on following issues. 
    1. The study reports that 40% children affected with SAM in the study did not recover even with a prolonged (16 weeks), supervised treatment with RUTF and other supportive measures like deworming, antibiotics at the initiation of treatment and increased access to healthcare for morbidity. The recovery rate was 17.3% with the use of locally produced RUTF and 12.1% with centrally produced RUTF at 16 weeks after the end of treatment phase. With such low recovery rates, is it prudent to make a recommendation for the policy that “Children with uncomplicated SAM can be managed at home with RUTF instead of through inpatient hospitalization”?
    2. In this trial, researchers aimed to achieve an intake of 175 kcal/kg body weight/ day for the enrolled children and collected consumption data for both the RUTF groups which were largely comparable. But they fail to do so for the comparison group stating greater difficulty in capturing valid information. Authors need to explain if this has led to a less th...
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  • re

    Abdur Sarker et al have highlighted an incredibly important aspect of Bangladeshi society that acts as a pivotal part of achieving Universal Health Coveage (UHC). They have clearly highlighted aspects such as the promotion of health equity and access within cooperatives, however, two aspects of such societies have not been discussed, namely technology and education.


  • RE: Reading Between the Lines of the RUTF trial, India

        Reading Between the Lines of the RUTF trial, India
    Nita Bhandari et al are to be congratulated for publishing the much-awaited findings of the trial conducted in India for home-based management of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition; comparing the efficacy of ready-to-use-therapeutic-food (RUTF); centrally (RUTF-C) and locally produced (RUTF-L), with augmented home-foods (A-HPF). The rigorously conducted trial offers significant insights to this highly debated and discussed area of work i ii . However, its policy recommendations seem evasive and ill founded on the evidence.
    It is hardly in question that children with SAM benefit from being fed calorie-dense and protein rich foods, including RUTF. What the authors note, however, is that the rate, ease and extent of achieving ‘cure’ is far lower than that seen in African studies. In fact, this is the first trial where the advisory committee – the Data Safety Monitoring Board has had to recommend a treatment period as long as 16 weeks. It also has had to recommend the introduction of paid workers that visited each household ‘several times’ through the day to personally supervise feeding, to be able to achieve even this impact across the arms. This corresponds to an understanding that malnutrition cannot be sufficiently countered in the field without supporting care-givers in practical ways. In fact, comparing ready-to-use foods with the raw material that was supplied...

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