Each and every man, woman or child with TB should have equal, unhindered access to the innovative tools and services they need for rapid diagnosis, treatment and care,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, in celebration of the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24.

Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease which can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or respiratory fluid transmission. Among the symptoms are chronic cough with blood-stained mucus, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

In 2013, 9 million people were diagnosed with TB. There are also 1.5 million TB-related deaths each year.

To end the global epidemic, WHO is calling for “global solidarity and action” to support the “End TB Strategy" which was adopted during the World Health Assembly in 2014.

The new 20-year TB elimination strategy focuses on three key areas: integrated patient-centered TB care and prevention, bold policies and supportive systems, and intensified research and innovation. It targeted 95% TB death reduction and 90% cases decrease by 2035, including the elimination of heavy medical and non-medical costs for TB patients and their families by 2020.

According to Dr. Eric Goosby, appointed United Nations (UN) Special Envoy on TB, the progress in fighting TB should be intensified in order to remove the disease. “The End TB Strategy offers new hope to the millions of people suffering and losing their lives to TB each year. It is time to join forces to create a world free of TB,” he encouraged.

WHO also called for persistent funds, accelerated research and innovation in basic science, new action frameworks and people mobilization to reach their global targets.

“2015 is seen as a critical year for action to adapt and roll out the strategy in diverse country settings. Achieving success for the strategy will require the TB community around the world to work together to leverage alliances and resources,” WHO emphasized.

Further details about the End TB Strategy are available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/end-tb/en/. ■

“Once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back,” emphasized by Dr. Etienne Krug, World Health Organization (WHO) Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, in connection with the International Ear Care Day celebration this March.

WHO reported that 360 million people today have hearing loss due to noise, genetic conditions, birth complications, infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, drug use, and ageing, which are mostly unavoidable.

According to Dr. Krug, too much life enjoyment like partying in night clubs or continuous listening to smartphones also causes hearing loss. Data showed that almost 50% of teenagers aged 12-35 years are at risks due to personal audio devices while nearly 40% are caused by loud sounds at entertainment venues.

WHO promoted safer practices to prevent deafness like noise exposure of 85 decibels up to eight hours a day maximum. People were also advised to limit their sound engagement, monitor their safe listening levels and undergo regular check-ups.

WHO also called for the government to impose strict legislation on recreational noise and disseminate information campaigns.

As some people failed to give proper attention in taking care of their ears, Dr. Krug emphasized that “taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”

Further information about hearing loss can be viewed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/ear-care/en/.

“Araw ka ba?” “Bakit?” “Kasi binigyang liwanag mo ang buhay ko.” (“Are you a sun?” “Why?” “Because you brighten my life.”)

Pick-up lines, like the above example, are usually done to make your love ones blush or smile, but who would have thought that they can be used to learn Microbiology?

“Learning microbiology need not be boring,” stated Thomas Edison dela Cruz, author of the study “Pick-up Lines: A Fun Way to Facilitate Learning Microbiological Concepts.”

In an activity wherein 37 sophomore students were tasked to make pick-up lines out of Microbiology concepts and ideas, it was found out that students can learn and understand the subject better through activities that they can easily relate to.

Examples of the lines they formed were:

Are you a flagellum? Why do you ask? Because I can’t move without you. (Flagellum is a thread-like structure which enables microorganisms to move or swim.)

If you will be a cell, I hope to be your cell wall and provide you with structural support. (Cell wall protects the cell.)

My love for you is like that of Deinococcusradiodurans. It can withstand even the harshest of situations. (Deinococcus radiodurans is an organism under Deinococcus-Thermus group which can tolerate high radiation dose because of the overall structure of their cell.)

The author also stated that the study showed that incorporating popular culture in teaching is one way of motivating students to learn difficult concepts in fun and creative way.

Full text of the study can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278504/. ■

Recently, a 32-year-old Filipina nurse who came back from Saudi Arabia was diagnosed with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after being admitted to a local private hospital.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), MERS-CoV was first reported in Saudi Arabia on 2012. As of 13 Feb 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) data showed 978 laboratory-confirmed infection cases and 359 virus-related deaths.

Recent studies associated the source of the virus to camels although the infection route is still unknown.

Among the signs and symptoms of MERS-CoV are fever, cough, breathing difficulty, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Spread can be due to contact with infected persons.

WHO also warned people with diabetes, renal failure and chronic lung disease as they are more susceptible to infection.

Medical care is advised to relieve the symptoms because specific treatments for the virus are not yet available. Laboratory tests are accessible in the country thru the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

To avoid being infected, DOH advised to have plenty of sleep, fluids, and nutritious foods. Proper washing of hands is also recommended.

Although the Filipina nurse was already stable and her co-passengers were found negative of the virus, the DOH continued to call for active surveillance to prevent future cases.

Further details about MERS-CoV can be viewed at http://www.healthpromo.doh.gov.ph/merscov-2/. You can also visit http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/ for updates of reported cases. ■

MEMORANDUM

For: ALL RESEARCH ETHICS REVIEW COMMITTEES IN THE PHILIPPINES

From: LEONARDO D. DE CASTRO, PhD

Chair, PHREB

Date: 27 February 2015

Subject: Registration and Accreditation of all Ethics Review Committees in the Philppines

See image below:

 Memo  All RERCs final