Research to the rescue of disaster management

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
For management of disasters and humanitarian crises, doing something is not enough—but doing the right thing at the right time is.  Decision-makers need to know which interventions, actions and strategies would work, which would not work, and which, no matter how well-meaning, might be harmful. They need to make well informed choices and decisions and for this they need access to reliable evidence.

When natural disasters happen: do more good than harm!

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Whenever natural disasters and humanitarian crises occur, enormous amount of resources are spent on relief and aid services, albeit without knowing whether they will do more good than harm. At a pre-conference symposium organized by Evidence Aid, before 22nd Cochrane Colloquium opens in Hyderabad, India, the message was clear from those with experience in disaster management activities: despite best intentions, lot of interventions are happening without strong evidence that they actually do more good than harm.

Should India Sacrifice Agriculture For Trade?

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Well, any right-minded person would say NO. But the global, as well as the local media, has castigated India for not ratifying the Protocol of Amendment for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) at the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in Geneva in July 2014, and for linking it to discussions for a permanent solution to the G-33’s Food Security Proposal. India’s refusal to tow the line of developed countries has caused worldwide uproar.

Indoor Pollution not seen as a public health concern

Nenet Ortega, CNS Correspondent, Philippines
A government hospital is usually the preferred facility to seek medical and clinical consultation by people in a rural community and they do come when they are already sick. Everyday hundreds of clients seek consultation.  A review of the out patients census and data for the first two quarters of 2014 in a hospital in Philippines showed that the top three leading causes for which patients sought medical and clinical consultation were--TB, upper respiratory tract infection/asthma and pneumonia.

Indian scientists developing a diagnostic algorithm for female genital TB

Dr Aparna Srikantam, LEPRA
Genital tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major causes of tubal infertility. Some studies show that only two per cent of women with genital TB have live births. Genital TB is usually asymptomatic so needs higher degree of clinical suspicion so that accurate and confirmed diagnosis of TB can be made and standard anti-TB treatment provided as early as possible. But the challenge is that current range of standard diagnostic tests are less likely to pick up every case of genital TB.

Whither Future Development Goals?

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Abused by her own family in childhood, Bela (name changed) was sold by a relative and trafficked to India. She eventually came out of her harrowing ordeal, turned her life around and became a peer counsellor and educator with Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN). She was supported for 5 years by the anti trafficking project of FPAN. But once the project got over she was once again left to fend for herself.

Two Million Deaths Attributed To Indoor Air Pollution, Say Experts

Eranga Isaac, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
It has been established by health experts in Nigeria that indoor and outdoor environments are usually polluted by multifarious mixtures of gases and particles that are produced by combustion of various types of fuels. Sources of indoor pollution include cooking stoves, cigarettes smoking, burning of various fuels for indoor heating, burning of mosquito coils and burning of incense for religious purposes and defecating in the living room.

Advancements in TB Control threatened by diabetes

Babs Verblackt, CNS Correspondent, Belgium
Progress made in tuberculosis control is at risk of being undermined by the rapid rise of diabetes in regions where both diseases are prevalent, experts warn. Patients living with diabetes are especially vulnerable to catching the lung disease. Improved care and increased efforts to diagnose and treat both diseases are urgently needed.

'In memory of my Mamma'

Shobha Shukla
It has been one year since you left us. And yet not a day has gone by when your invisible, but all pervading, presence was not felt by us. You had touched the lives of not only your near ones but even those who had never met you personally and had heard about you through common friends.

Strangely, during this one year I never ever felt the urge to mourn your loss, rather your remembrance fills my mind with peace and an indescribable calm.

The fatal dance of Firewood and cigarette smoke

Chhatra Karki, CNS Correspondent, Nepal
The degradation of indoor air quality is a critical issue throughout the world today, which is convicted for causing severe impacts on human health. World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 38 million of the global population is forced to face untimely death every year due to household air pollution. To aggravate the matter, indoor air pollution is catapulting the number of the people contracting maladies like pneumonia, stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and others.

Know your epidemic: First-ever national anti-TB drug resistance survey launched

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service – CNS
India took a historic step for control and management of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) when the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister of Government of India, Dr Harsh Vardhan formally launched the first-ever nationwide anti-TB drug resistance survey (2014-2015) on 6th September 2014 in New Delhi.

Indoor Air Population: Not Just A Public Health Concern But A Human Rights Issue

Diana Wangari, CNS Correspondent, Kenya
(First publish in The Star News, Kenya): Early in the morning, the scene in large areas of rural Kenya is that of women walking towards their kitchen, often situated in a separate structure next to their living quarters. Homestead after homestead, the woman gathers firewood beneath her three stone make shift cooker or begins the process of getting the coal on the jiko to light.

International expert cautions on dangers of tobacco industry interference

Owen Nyaka, CNS Correspondent, Malawi
People all over the world are living in homes with poor indoor air quality. This can have profound health impacts. According to the World Health Organisation, 4.3 million people die prematurely every year from illnesses attributed to household air pollution. These illnesses include pneumonia, stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. There is also evidence of links between household air pollution and low birth weight, tuberculosis, cataract, nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers.

Mind The Air You Breathe In Your Home

Shobha Shukla, CNS Columnist
Findings of the World Health Organization (WHO) confirm that, ‘Air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental risk’. Globally, 7 million people die each year because of exposure to air pollution, which means that 1 in 8 deaths occurring worldwide are due to breathing dirty air. While outdoor air pollution is responsible for 3.7 million of these deaths, surprisingly more deaths — 4.3 million — are linked to indoor air pollution chiefly caused by use of solid fuels for cooking and heating. Add to this smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes, and you have a veritable inferno of deadly air circulating within closed doors.