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Letters to the Editor

An End in Sight?

With all the efforts to fight malaria, described in [“End Game,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Voices Against Malaria” Spring 2012], and [“Malarial Gut Check” Fall 2012], as well as other numerous efforts, the actual elimination of the disease may be nearer than is thought. I am optimistic that these efforts against the disease will continue to yield significant results and the many lives lost or damaged—especially in sub-Saharan Africa and many other resource-poor developing parts of our world—will be saved or improved.

Ransford P.S. Sefenu, MBChB, MPH
Sogakope, Ghana

A Prescription for Helping Seniors

I am a licensed clinical social worker who works as a staff therapist in a community mental health center. Many of my therapy clients are older adults who take a host of pain medications and other prescription drugs for their various health problems [“Rx  for Survival,” Special Issue 2013]. It is a real problem and there are few available strategies to help them. Any suggestions?

Jennifer Kinsey
New Hampshire

Editor’s Note—G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, co-director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, responds:
Primary care physicians not only have a vital role to play in helping to curb the epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse, but also in working closely with patients and their families to ensure that patients’ prescription regimens are as clinically sensible and judicious as possible. And don’t discount the potential influence you can have by encouraging patients to “check up on their prescriptions” by carefully and critically reviewing their prescription regimens with their primary care provider.I would also like to see an educational program for mental health professionals on integrating mental health services and primary health care. We provided a one-week seminar to mental health professionals in Panama, using Skype. Similar programs can help other nations integrate mental health and primary care services, based on a country’s unique needs, resources and culture.

Encouraging Research

It is very encouraging to see this important research being done by Dr. Holly Wilcox [“Illuminating Insights,” Special Issue 2013]. Understanding the epidemiology, and the who, when and how of suicides is the first step toward prevention. Thank you for all the good work!

Fehmida Visnegarwala
India

A Compassionate Ending

I think the point of [“A Sip of Water” Special Issue 2013] was right on about having someone who genuinely cares and can stop the extraordinary and useless [medical] tests that do nothing but extend the suffering a little longer, but not the quality of life.

Barbara Wright, MS
Roanoke, Virginia

Share and Share Again

Whenever there is a loss, we have a sense of guilt, regardless of the circumstances [“Since Her Death,” Special Issue 2013]. It is particularly important to seek out friends, peers and colleagues to share our feelings. Share, share and share again. It is our humanity that helps to heal the wounded soul. Never hesitate to ask a colleague: “Are you OK?”

Richard Charlat, MD, MPH
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

 

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Deworming in Tajikistan. Teaching malaria in Senegal. See these and other photos selected as winners in the Center for Global Health photo contest.

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