Different Takes: Ukraine Needs Support With Drug-Resistant TB; Veteran Fights For Care After Burn Pit Exposure
Editorial writers examine these public health topics.
Ukrainians Need Help To Maintain Progress Against TB
The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine threatens to upend years of work to improve public health in the region — and especially to worsen the spread of tuberculosis. Ukraine has one of the highest rates of drug-resistant TB in the world. Of the nearly 24,000 people diagnosed in the country just last year, about a third have the most intractable kind — resistant to one or more treatment options. Ukrainian health authorities have been working for years to improve treatment and support for TB patients, and Russia’s invasion will almost certainly reverse their progress. To avoid a broader TB disaster in the region, the world needs to mobilize resources to help Ukrainians and refugees with the disease. (Lisa Jarvis, 3/24)
The New York Times:
The Monster That Followed Him Home From War
Le Roy Torres came home from his deployment in Iraq with a sickness he could neither explain nor shake: crushing headaches, fogs of vertigo, an increasingly harsh cough. Doctors shook their heads, prescribed ineffective antibiotics and, finally, to Mr. Torres’s deep mortification, suggested psychiatric medication. It took years of tests to prove what Mr. Torres suspected: His lungs and brain were damaged from exposure to military burn pits, a crude garbage disposal method in which all manner of plastics, medical waste and equipment are splashed with jet fuel and set ablaze, sometimes next to troops’ sleeping quarters or work stations. Burn pits were a standard garbage disposal method used by the U.S. military during the early years of the post-9/11 conflicts; their aftereffects are still emerging. (Megan K. Stack, 3/25)
The CT Mirror:
It’s Still Time For Congress To Lower Drug Prices
We are paying more these days for everything from groceries to gas to housing. With inflation at its highest rate in four decades – rising seven percent last year alone – Americans want to know what Congress is doing to help them pay for the essentials they need. While some price increases are a relatively recent phenomenon, many Connecticut residents have struggled with high prescription drug costs for a long time. I wrote about this exact issue in October, and nothing has changed in the intervening months. For years, prescription drug price increases have exceeded even the highest rates of general inflation. If the prices for basic staples rose as fast as prescription drugs over the last 15 years, milk would be $13 a gallon, and a gallon of gas would be $12.20. (Anna Doroghazi, 3/25)
Digital Health: The Latest Iteration Of Medicine's Knowledge Problem
When I did my residency in internal medicine and primary care a few years ago, digital health wasn’t on my radar. I didn’t get questions about health apps from my patients, didn’t talk about them with my colleagues, and certainly didn’t get any instruction about them. Fast forward a few years, and digital health tools — by which I mean apps for detecting, monitoring, treating, alleviating, and coordinating medical conditions — have exploded, catalyzed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic and its pressures on the health care system. There are now more than 350,000 apps, ranging from behavioral health to reproductive health, sleep medicine, addiction medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, and beyond. (Charlotte Grinberg, 3/25)
I Treat Transgender Patients. Let My Peers In Texas Do Their Job.
I carried with me a deep sense of responsibility as I flew to Texas — my birthplace — this month. I was on my way to attend the SXSW festival and participate in a panel discussion about transgender health care. Landing in the middle of a political firestorm of anti-transgender legislation in Texas (and other states, too, including Florida, Arizona and Tennessee and more), I also felt fortunate. I don’t face these political obstacles in New York. (David Rosenthal, 3/24)
Why Crucial Alzheimer's Medicine Coverage Must Remain For Thousands Of Tennesseans.
In January, the government agency in charge of Medicare proposed a rule that would be devastating for the six million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, a debilitating brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking. In a bid to save money, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wants to block seniors' access to a whole category of dementia medicines. (Saul Anuzis, 3/24)
Alzheimers: How Tennessee Lawmakers Can Support Long-Term Caregivers
Currently 357,000 Tennesseans are providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia and many do not have the extra family support that my brother-in-law had. Thankfully, there is a bill in front of the legislature that seeks to bring relief to these caregivers. The Colonel Thomas G. Bowden Memorial Act (SB 1749/ HB 1686) will create a pilot program aimed at providing respite care to these family caregivers. This is a critical first step in supporting caregivers and the individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s disease by allowing them to remain at home as long as possible. (Laura Musgrave, 3/24)