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February 10th, 2010
10:32 AM ET

Inside TB quarantine tents

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has returned to Haiti on assignment. He reports that doctors treating Haitians are worried that drug-resistant tuberculosis could spread worldwide.


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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Roggers

    Hello Dr. Gupta,

    Thank you for your contribution to Hait's reconstruction. Some people called it: "rebirth". Maybe, one day everybody will know how much you've been helping other people by your documentaries and articles on Haiti.

    I am certain that most of your readers might ask you what do your articles have to do with science? Or, what do they have to worry about a few "sick people" in Haiti? Or what should they be concerned about a "functionable Hospital" " with refrigerated and well secured "safe rooms" there?

    Up to the time they remember that all scientific discoveries start by a simple question.... A few years ago, a couple of chickens in China put the entire world to a type of panic with the "SARS" pandemic. Just some time last year, a few infections in Mexico have caused millions of dollars to other countries and a few human lives worldwide.

    This is why Haiti should be in people's minds. Americans as well as other ciitizens go, work, do business with and travel to and from Haiti everyday. Drug-resistant tuberculosis cases in Haiti should be a cause for concerns for the entire world as well as the "H1N1" virus cases were. Arguing the opposite is the same as forgetting how interdependent we have been becoming lately...

    Thank you again for leading the way.

    Regards,

    Roggers

    February 10, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. John Bower

    Dear Roggers,

    Haitians deserve all the love and support we can give them. You are of course correct that the TB can spread to US or any country in the world but their suffering should cause our suffering since Mankind is One. How can we be happy knowing their are blessed, innocent children and youth, old people dying alone in Haiti?

    I can't. It haunts me all the time. My only desire is to go and give them Love and Happiness.

    warmest regards to you and Saint Sanjay,

    john

    February 11, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mirtha del Granado - Regional Adviser on TB PAHO/WHO

    Comments to CNN Report on TB in Haiti – delivered on February 9, 2010 in night emission

    The report made by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent in Haiti, regarding TB during these critical times for the Haitian people, does not fully represent the reality of the current emergency. Tuberculosis, as rightly mentioned by Dr. Gupta, is one of the most prevalent diseases in Haiti. To address this, the country along with many technical and financial partners had implemented a TB control program with national coverage that offers free diagnosis and treatment to TB patients. This program, one of the most successful Public Health programs in the country, despite the difficulties linked to poverty and limited coverage of national health system, has been interrupted, like everything else in the country, due to the 12 January earthquake.

    Immediate health priorities after the earthquake were to save and safeguard lives of those affected by trauma resulting from it. Now, in the post-emergency phase, tuberculosis can become the main health threat, not because of the emergence of resistant tuberculosis as mentioned in Dr. Gupta´s report, but due to the persistence of the disease in the affected area. With the destruction of an important part of the health infrastructure in the country and the loss of homes and desperate search of places to settle, TB patients no longer have access to their treatment forcing them to stop taking the medicines.

    It is important to clarify that earthquakes or hurricanes do not produce drug-resistant tuberculosis. What it produces is more suffering and pain to impoverished populations. It is true that you cannot separate the possibility of the emergence of drug resistance in these chaotic situations, where medicines can be dispensed with the best intentions but in a disorganized manner by international health teams, without much knowledge of the management of these cases following national recommendations. The key point that needs to be highlighted and that the report did not touch, is the need for coordinated and long-term responsibility among all organizations that are trying to help in coordination with local players, mainly the National TB Control program that have been working for years against this disease and need to be supported.

    Yes, many Haitians had to migrate to various countries seeking to survive and search for opportunities of a new life before the tragedy. Among them, probably some with tuberculosis. It is precisely at this moment that the international community, including the press like CNN, should give Haitians a hand, irrespective of where they are, in making sure that those TB patients can have access to treatment instead of generating stigma towards them, specially to those with drug-resistant tuberculosis that are only a minority of all the cases.

    Let’s help Haiti with professionalism, seriousness and solidarity in a positive way. TB is a curable disease and suffering Haitians deserve the treatment and social support they need now more than ever. We cannot accept that in this case reality is misrepresented stigmatizing those that have nothing. Let us not repeat the history of stigmatization the Haitian people had to bear at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. The future of TB patients in Haiti relies on the efforts that all of us working in health, including reporters, can make to ensure coordinated and effective treatment for them to be able to make a difference between life and death without stigma.

    February 11, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. David Bryden

    The question journalists should be asking is why, in the face of the urgency of tuberculosis, President Obama decided to propose for FY 2011 a cut in CDC's TB program, a cut in the US contribution to the Global Fund (an essential funder of TB programs in Haiti and elsewhere) and only a tiny increase (2.2%) to USAID's TB program. His multiyear proposal for the Global Health Initiative also ignores the targets on TB set in law in 2008. We urgently need strong US leadership on TB...when will we get it? It will actually cost the US less in the long run if we aid countries NOW to confront TB.

    February 16, 2010 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dramback

    I was deeply touched by the segment tuberculosis quarantine tents
    featuring a young girl named Cindia. I am leaving with a team of
    nurses and doctors to Haiti, March 14th. Could you tell me
    where I could find this patient. I would like to help her. Thank you

    March 3, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.