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Geeta meets Arvind Kejriwal, to go sightseeing

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New Delhi: Geeta, a young speech and hearing impaired woman who returned to India after being stranded in Pakistan for over a decade, met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal here on Tuesday.

At their meet at the chief minister’s official residence, Kejriwal interacted with her through sign language with the help of a facilitator.

Geeta was accompanied by members of Edhi Foundation, the Pakistani group which looked after her.

“The chief minister asked Geeta how she led her life in Pakistan and how she happened to stray into Pakistan,” a Delhi government official said.

Kejriwal also interacted with Edhi Foundation members.

Home ministry officials escorting Geeta told Kejriwal that they intend to take her for sightseeing on Delhi Metro, the official added.

On Monday, Geeta called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after reaching India.

Modi thanked Bilquis Edhi, the founder of the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation, for taking care of Geeta in Pakistan. He also announced a Rs 1 crore rupee donation for the foundation.

Geeta is also slated to meet President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 1 PM today.

Geeta, who is yet to identify her family, had accidently crossed over to Pakistan in 2003 and had been looked after by Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare programme, in Karachi.

Prime Minister Modi on Monday welcomed Geeta at his residence while thanking Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation for taking care of the deaf-mute girl, who remained stranded there for over a decade.

“I don’t think any amount of words are enough to thank the Edhi family for taking care of Geeta. They are apostles of kindness and compassion,” Modi tweeted.

“What the Edhi family has done is too priceless to be measured but I am happy to announce a contribution of Rs 1 crore to their foundation,” Modi said.

The Edhi Foundation is a non-profit social welfare programme in Pakistan, founded by Abdul Sattar Edhi in 1951. He is popularly known as Pakistan’s “Father Teresa”.

Separately, Modi welcomed Geeta on her return to India.

“It is truly wonderful to have you back home. Was truly a delight to spend time with you today,” he said.

He also expressed his gratitude to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his efforts that ensured Geeta’s return to India.

(IANS)

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)