Categories
Healthcare Technology

TataMD Check launched for Covid19 testing

Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd (TataMD), the healthcare venture from Tata Group has launched the Tata MD check, which is probably India’s first and probably the largest COVID19 diagnostic kit. This kit has been built in association with CSIR- IGIB and is built on top of a CRISPR Cas 9 for COVID19 testing. The algorithm, incidentally, is called Feluda. Very interesting to note that it might be in reference to the detective character created by Satyajit Ray.

It took about 100 days for Tata MD,for its licencing and commercial launch. And also, it has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the DGCI and will be available through our diagnostic centres in India. It’s a paper based test with the image based visual readout. The reaction time is about 45 minutes, and the total testing time is about 75 minutes only because it’s from an mRNA extracted sample. There is high scalability. About 1 million of these test kits will be produced in a month from the Tata diagnostic and Research Centre outside of Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Also, there is an AI based reporting tool that will help authorities keep track of traceability of samples and the results will be accessible from anywhere. And it. This test will allow from and massive rapid adoption potential to the far away regions of the country. It will be interesting to see how this pans out considering the seem to be close to good testing we seem to be close to a good vaccine and we seem to be good, close to a good protocol. Let’s see how things go from here.

Categories
Public Health

Diabetes levels drop marginally in India as per Novo Nordisk Foundation Study

Diabetes is a cause for greatest concern in India. The reason for that is many fold. But the most prominent among them is that diabetes is the foundation on which many other diseases come into play. As you know, diabetes is a condition and not a disease, and usually starts with the body’s inability to maintain the insulin level in the blood. As you know, diabetes is a condition and not a disease and usually starts with the body’s inability to maintain the sugar levels in the blood.

This could be a result of genetic makeup or also from the pancreas inability to produce insulin. But the most common co factor is stress. In 2018 Novo Nordisk had launched a diabetes impact challenge, in which they wanted to maintain a diabetes index to measure the HPA one c levels in the body.

HbA1C measures the Association of the glucose molecule with the red blood cell. As a red blood cell has a life of 120 days. This measure gives us an average of the sugar levels in the body for 120 days, and it’s a much better, and reliable measure of the sugar levels as compared to fasting, and post prandial blood sugar levels that were used earlier. In its recent finding the Novo Nordisk Foundation which produces this result figured out that from October 2019 to September 2020. The HbA1C levels have marginally dropped in India. Currently they are at 8.48 per cent. They ideally should be below 6.

By, the average HbA1C once he level was recorded at 8.48% for the year from October 2019 to 20. But this collection happened over 30 Indian cities with a vast average respondent rate of 55 years, or which of the 57% were men and 43% were women. Again you can see the testing levels among women are less and this is another area of concern.

The Indian diabetes care index which was also launched in 2018, to improve the diabetes care in the country has been providing a real time view of the average HbA1C levels in India.

According to the Novo Nordisk foundation, there are more than 77 million diabetics in the country. And the country, the total spend on diabetes is around INR 64,000 crores.

The second issue that comes up is that with COVID-19, it is clearly proven that anybody with comorbidity or with underlying conditions like diabetes, was more predisposed to, you know, to health issues. And it is clearly established that diabetes affects a lot of body parts, especially extremities like hands and feet, heart, circulatory system, and your kidneys. Your eyes, and overall suppresses your immune system.

I have written about diabetes and its implications on health, many times earlier, including these articles which you can refer to help you get a better understanding of what can be done.

What does this mean for you?

1)      Monitor-  I think 55 is a bit too late to check what your sugar levels are. The most important thing is to start monitoring it from the mid-30’s onwards. If India has risen to 71 million diabetics overnight. It is primarily because the awareness has increased. And the constant checking is possible.

2)      Detect- Get a blood sugar monitor machine. I think it’s very important, a very good investment, along with a Blood Pressure machine. I think these are solid investments that you should make, whether you have an HDTV or the latest Apple gadget. It doesn’t matter but these schedules can really save your life.

3)      Reduce Stress- Diabetes is related to stress to great extent, higher stress higher sugar levels, and higher and lower the body’s ability to deal with the sugar let’s see where is it that is causing stress for you and how you can mitigate it, you might do yoga and meditation to manage the stress, but the ultimate aim should be eliminate the source of stress.

4)      Watch out for added sugar- Last but not the least, which is sugar intake added sugar is the biggest reason why insulin intolerance is happening in the body. So, it is important to figure out if there is added sugar that you are eating which you are not aware of, which could have been causing this problem.

5)      Exercise if your medicine- Workout in the open for 150 minutes a week. This could be a simple walk or cycling or swimming.

As always, it is important for you to stay healthy. Stay safe. Own your health. You have to do it; nobody else will take care of.

Sources: https://www.biospectrumindia.com/news/79/17555/average-hba1c-level-registers-marginal-improvement-in-india.html

Categories
Digital Health Healthcare Technology Public Health

Population Health Management through Digital Tools

Dr Pallabi Roy

Does the Public Health Industry need a Digital Makeover?

Have you heard of buzzwords like ‘Tech Trends’?

Blockchain, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things?

As a Healthcare Professional, you might have heard of these digital tools.

Aren’t sure about what they mean? You’re not alone!

We often ignore the technical aspects of a project.

We deal only with the core Biological Sciences.

But this approach needs some amount of tweaking. With the heavy penetration of digital tools in Healthcare, we must embrace the digital era. There is no going back to Pre COVID-19 times!

Isn’t population health management a well-known concept in the Public Health domain?

Yes, it is, but digitization is changing the face of this sector. 

Public health challenges like tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and other communicable diseases still exist. India’s healthcare industry is going through a transitional stage. The disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming more clear. This gap creates poor health outcomes and using digital tools, we can bridge this.

Why should healthcare professionals bother about these tools?

It’s because they are going to be the harbingers of change!

The Finance Minister allocated Rs 69,000 crore for the healthcare sector. The 2020-21 Union Budget looked better than last year. This is another spectrum where digital tools can come in. FinTech can help divide funds according to the needs of our country.

80% of our fund allocation can elevate health promotion and disease prevention. Using digital tools, we can deliver these healthcare services to the rural parts of India. The public health workforce is working hard and adopting these measures. How can you leverage these tools for research and evidence-based treatment protocols?

Technology has made it easier to reach out. This holds true not only for remote areas but also for an international ecosystem. Doctors can use this approachable network as a reference. Digital tools are facilitating knowledge and implementation, in new-age India.

The Government of India has come up with training and guidelines for telemedicine. Tele-Consultations in specializations like Ophthalmology, Radiology, Mental Healthcare, and Obstetrics-Gynaecology have created waves. ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) are warming up to digital tools. These include virtual training and EMRs (Electronic Medical Records). We are observing a gradual improvement in primary levels of population health management.

Mother and Child Care programs are improving since e-governance is possible. There are online registries that get updated every week by these healthcare facilitators.

We use them for tracking data like child mortality rates and cases of tuberculosis. Cases of COVID-19 are being monitored through similar means.

National Digital Health Mission has an agenda that we cannot sideline. Our government is centralizing healthcare. This gives us time to catch up with tech trends. It gives us time to understand these digital tools and make the most of them in our clinical practices.

Which are some digital tools that you have used for population health management?

About the Author

Dr Pallabi Roy is a dentist and works as a marketing professional, podcaster and an influencer in the area of digital health. She can be reached on Linkedin- https://in.linkedin.com/in/pallabiroy27

Categories
Public Health

Closing the Oxygen Gap in Covid19

Oxygen is essential. It is a key treatment for a wide range of diseases that affect all parts of the population—but it’s often overlooked in health system planning for a number of reasons. It is both a medicine and a device, has complex delivery infrastructure, requires proper training for health workers and sustainable maintenance plans for oxygen equipment, and should be supported by sufficient budget.

While medical oxygen remains an essential commodity for improving a variety of health outcomes, the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted its importance as the first line treatment for COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe.  However, many countries, including India, face a gap in access to medical oxygen, leaving many health facilities in these communities unequipped to meet the level of patient demand.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the role of medical oxygen as a lifesaving therapy for patients struggling to breathe. It also pushed to the surface the long-existing issue of oxygen access gap, as it created an overwhelming demand for oxygen technologies and supplies across many health facilities in LMICs.

Closing this gap will require an integrated set of solutions and investment in strengthening the oxygen delivery systems, including resilient oxygen markets—from demand planning to financing to supply and distribution systems. PATH the Chicago based Not for Profit organisation has been working in India for many years. In the past they have worked on areas like providing contraception to remote areas of the country by tying up with India Posts, you can read that story here- Link.

Now they have launched the “Markets Matter: Closing the Oxygen Gap” initiative, this campaign puts a spotlight on the role that efficient markets play in scaling up #OxygenAccess. Now is the time to add your voice and help close the oxygen gap!

We have a chance to move some of the solutions forward now to ensure a rapid response to the pandemic, as well as build a sustained platform for the future. Now is the time to use our voices to elevate these important messages about the need to prioritize oxygen access amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – and beyond.  

You can get involved as well, please download the campaign material from this link and share it within your network. Looking forward to all your support.

Categories
Healthcare Delivery

Neuroendocrine Tumours: Management and Treatment

Do you know what is common to Steve Jobs and Irfan Khan? Well apart from the fact that both were brilliant individuals and masters of their field, they also suffered from Neuroendocrine Tumours and died as a result of those.

Steve Jobs – Source CNBC

So what is a Neuroendocrine Tumour?

A Neuroendocrine Tumour or NET is a specific tumour affecting the endocrine glands. Specifically a variant known as the Carcinoid Tumour is very common and lethal. It affects the Gastrointestinal Track (Stomach), Intestine, Lungs, Pancreas, Testicles and Ovaries.

This is the distribution of the NET – Carcinoid Tumours

  • Intestines -39%
  • Rectum-15%
  • Lungs -10%
  • Appendix -7%
  • Colon-7%
  • Pancease-3%
  • Liver-1%

Both Steve Jobs and Irfan Khan has the variety that grows in the Pancreas. Interestingly NETs strike later in life mostly around the 50s and 60s. Also there is a misconception that NETs are benign, but in reality there is nothing like a benign NET, according to Dr P Jagannath at Lilavati Hospital, this misleading information was one of the reasons Steve Jobs did not aggressively treat his condition when he was diagnosed.

The Treatment

  1. Surgery- The number one line of treatment seems to be surgery. This is specially if the tumour is detected early and has not spread. Another minimal invasive surgery is Laparoscopic surgery.
  2. Radiation- If the NET has spread then radiation is the best line of treatment. Both external beam radiation and internal beam radiation called brachytherapy are options that are available.
  3. Medication- A new medication called Everolimus has emerged on the scene that controls the tumour for a long time.

Innovation in treatment and therapies

1) PPRT – Peptide receptor Radionuclide Therapy – A radio isotope based therapy is showing good result specially in Pancreatic NETs, acts like a magic bullet just eliminating the cancer leaving the other healthy cells intact.

2) DOTA NOC – Scanning method is specifically helpful in treating gastrointestinal NETs.

The diagnosis and successful cure of NETs depends on early detection. The symptoms depend on the site of the tumour. Example in cases with Pancreatic NET, patients might see dizziness and increased fainting as blood sugar levels are not in line with the expectations as the tumour releases Insulin.

In conclusion, India has made many advances in the detection, cure and management of NETs. There is a registry of NET cases with the India chapter of the Asia Pacific Neuroendocrine Tumour Society. Also hospitals like Lilavati, KEM, JJ Hospital are all leading the charge on the treatment of NETs.