News / Asia

    In India, Fighting TB with Fingerprints

    In India, Fighting Tuberculosis with Fingerprintsi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X
    February 26, 2013 4:06 PM
    Tuberculosis remains a major health crisis for India, with two million people diagnosed each year. VOA New Delhi correspondent Aru Pande tells us how health officials are using technology to make sure TB sufferers receive the treatment they need.
    Aru Pande
    Health specialists in India are using fingerprint technology to make sure tuberculosis sufferers receive proper treatment for the deadly lung infection.

    New Delhi resident Vishnu Maya has already noticed a difference in her health after a few weeks of treatment for the disease.
     
    “I feel better. I have been feeling better for the last two to three days," she says. "I am not in a lot of pain right now.”
     
    Maya goes to a neighborhood health center to take her TB medication in the presence of Neema Mehta, a counselor with the Indian NGO Operation Asha.
     
    Mehta has the difficult job of ensuring that patients do not stop their treatment for any reason.
     
    “We have to explain to them, because they see it is a six-month dose and they get worried that they have to take it for so long," she says. "We have to explain to them that there is no need to worry - that if you take your medication on time, you will get better.”

    Tuberculosis remains a major health crisis for India, with two million people diagnosed each year.
     
    Making sure patients complete treatment is crucial. Stopping can cause the lung infection to morph into a deadlier version called multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), which is much more difficult and costly to treat.
     
    India is estimated to be home to 100,000 such cases. But Operation Asha founder Dr. Shelly Batra fears the number is much higher, with thousands of people who remain undiagnosed.
     
    “MDR-TB is the next plague that has the potential to wipe out millions," Batra says. "And if we don’t accept it now and we don’t act now by preventing drug resistance, we are going to be in very big trouble.”
     
    Batra is using biometric technology to ensure TB patients are completing their drug regimen.
     
    Her organization has centers in nearly every corner of the city, where the fingerprints of patients and counselors are recorded as proof of interaction. Those who do not show up to take their medication are sent reminders and tracked down.
     
    The monitoring system has already made a difference and cut the default rate in half, according to Batra.
     
    “We have brought it down to three percent, and with our biometric technology we have brought it down to below 1.5 percent, which I believe is a huge savings," Batra says. "MDR-TB is not just human misery, it is a huge economic loss to the patient, to the country.”

     With treatment centers in 3,000 Indian and Cambodian slums and villages, Operation Asha hopes its grass-roots effort, aided by technology, will help stem the tide of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    February 27, 2013 6:43 PM
    The Indian NGO Operation Asha is doing an admirable job in New Delhi. But the use of fingerprinting has nothing to do with the completion rate of treatment of TB. May be the finger printing deter the patients to come forward for treatment. What is needed is Direct Observed Therapy (DOT) throughout India. The DOT is sucessful only if all the contacts are traced, tested and preventive/treatment medications are provided to all the contacts. Unless government of India and the states implement such a program throughout the country, TB will remain a serious health problem in India combined with the spread of HIV and AIDS.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.