Can we reach the tipping point for childhood TB?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
An estimated 1 million annual cases of children with TB (although the actual number could be much higher); 210,000 annual deaths from childhood TB - a mortality rate of 21%! More shockingly, 96% of these deaths occur in children who do not receive any TB treatment. A treatable and preventable disease that is not being treated, and certainly not being prevented. A scary situation indeed!

[Call to register for 24th October Webinar] What's the link? Diabetes, latent TB, active TB disease and MDR-TB

[Click here to register] One of the important highlights at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health was the study that probed if diabetes affects latent (or dormant) TB infection. In lead up to 2017 World Diabetes Day, key experts will share more on the linkages between diabetes and latent TB, active TB disease and drug resistant TB (as well as tobacco use).

Fighting to death to defeat death

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Phumeza Tisile, South Africa
"One morning when I woke up in the hospital, it was not just another day. It was a day of numbing silence. I could not hear anything. I switched on the TV, but there was no sound. In a confused state, I went to the nurse. I could see that her lips were moving but I was not able to hear what she was saying. She wrote down on a piece of paper that I had become DEAF. It was so very sudden. Till the previous day, I was okay-listening to music, hearing the laughter of others, and the next day it was all so quiet. I was shocked and frustrated, especially when they told me that my hearing loss was not reversible - it was permanent.”

[Podcast] Stamping out TB stigma is vital to accelerate progress towards ending TB

[Focus] Driving out TB stigma is an imperative to #endTB

Will new tools spur progress to #endTB?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
The immortal words of Edison, "If there is a way to do it better, find it!" flash in mind when we see low rates of TB decline - which are currently a fraction of what is required to end TB by 2030. Will new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines propel us towards the #endTB targets? The WHO End TB Strategy, aims to end the global TB epidemic by 2035.

What's the link? Diabetes, latent TB, active TB disease and drug resistant TB

(L to R) Dr Mileni Romero, Jose Luis Castro,
Dr Pablo Antonio Kuri Morales, Dr Leonardo Martinez
Incidentally, the opening day of the largest global lung health conference, also marked the World Obesity Day. One of the important highlights at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health was the study that probed if diabetes affects latent (or dormant) TB infection.

Two novel TB drugs move into human studies

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
TB Alliance Stakeholders' meet in Guadalajara 2017
On the eve of the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health, being held in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) announced the ongoing Phase-1 clinical studies for two new drugs for TB treatment, developed by it.

Promise to end AIDS by 2030: Are we on track?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
(L to R) Dr Franco Buonaguro, Dr Ishwar Gilada,
Dr Sharon R Lewin, Dr Naval Chandra (ASICON 2017)
[हिंदी] Governments of over 190 nations, including India, have promised to end AIDS by 2030 by adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But the current data, trends and experiences of HIV experts pose serious concerns on if we are on track to end AIDS by 2030.

Real heroism lies in caring for the wife, not in beating her

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
"Do not remain a mute spectator to injustice and violence, but raise your voice against it. Unless you raise your voice, nobody can help you", believes Suman Sharma. Suman, who hails from Balrampur village in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, got married in 2003  when she was 19 years old and had just passed Class 10 exam. Her husband, the eldest of 3 brothers and 3 sisters, worked far away in Mumbai, and Suman was left alone to face the onslaughts of her in-laws’ family.

Daily conference e-newsletters at the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017)

[Issue 1 | Issue 2 | Issue 3]
CNS correspondents team led by Shobha Shukla, CNS Managing Editor and lead on gender and health justice, produced all the content for the daily conference e-newsletters at the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017).

[Podcast] Care with dignity is key for older people, especially those with dementia, alzhiemers

[Focus] Care with dignity is essential for older people, especially those with dementia, alzhiemers

Feminist forums foster solidarity and mobilize stronger action for a just world

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Those who are facing the severest brunt of authoritarian, capitalist and patriarchal world are not only fiercely resisting against it but also coming together on forums like the recently concluded 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017). Building and cementing solidarity amongst each other across the region and resisting, persisting together in this fight for a more just world, are indeed a cause of hope for billions of people.

Women making branded clothes fail to make ends meet

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Foreign investments in Myanmar's garment industry have increased six-fold from K2.2 billion (S$ 2.3 million) in 2007 to K12 billion in 2012. The increasing amount of investments by foreign companies, including famous garment brands are believed to be driven by low labour cost, a vast workforce and low production costs in the country. According to a report from the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, the total investment in Myanmar was valued at US $1.7 billion in 2015, representing an annual increase of 8.7%, which reached $2.2 billion in 2016.

[SDM Health Justice Lecture Series] No #endAIDS without #endTB!

[Watch recording] [Listen/ download podcast]
Dr Haileyesus Getahun, Coordinator of TB/HIV and community engagement at the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme, has kindly consented to deliver the October 2017 e-talk/ online lecture as part of the Shanti Devi Memorial Health Justice Lecture Series. He will speak on "No #endAIDS without #endTB".

Breaking point became a turning point for this domestic violence survivor

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
The whereabouts of Sheela’s husband are not known since the last 10 years. When he left home in 2007, Sheela was three months pregnant with her fifth child. The last she heard from him was one month after the birth of this child - a daughter. When he heard the news, he sent her INR 1000 through his brother, but did not come home to see her. Since then, there has been complete silence on his part.

Using ICT to end TB

Francis Okoye, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Photo credit: Ashok Ramsarup
As the world advances, new idea and technologies are taking root in all fields, especially in the medical field. This brings us to the idea of using information and communication technologies to help control TB. The new technology being applied is called mobile health or mHealth, and in a webinar titled ‘Can mHealth help accelerate progress towards ending TB?’ hosted by CNS, experts explained how the new technology is being applied in India in the rural as well as urban areas. Mobile health technology is being used in different ways by TB programs in some high burden countries.

[Podcast] Avert delays in translating scientific gains into public health outcomes

[SDM Health Justice Lecture] Transforming scientific research outcomes into public health gains

Leveraging mHealth for tackling TB in India

Urvashi Prasad, CNS Correspondent, India
India accounts for a large part of the world’s TB burden. As highlighted by Dr Suneetha Narreddy, Infectious Diseases Expert, Apollo Hospitals,  Hyderabad, during a webinar organised by CNS, there are approximately 2.6 million cases of TB annually in India. Unfortunately, nearly 1 million cases are missed every year on account of poor notification, especially from the private sector where 50% of patients are treated, as well as the absence of standardised diagnostic and treatment practices.

Dr Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director, The Union on World Lung Day 2017

Presentation of Dr Paula I Fujiwara of The Union in 2017 World Lung Day Webinar by bobbyramakant on Scribd

Technology can help improve TB management: Experts

Aarti Dhar, CNS Correspondent, India
[First published in the India Saga
Simple technology, such as basic mobile phones, can help in improving TB management, experts suggest. At least two pilots, conducted in India, have shown increased adherence to treatment regimen and improved the notification of the disease, particularly in the private sector.

[Podcast] People's movements give hope for development justice to be a reality!

[Focus] Power of people's movements gives hope for a better and a just tomorrow!

Anger gives way to hope, for "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Anger of day one gave birth to HOPE on the second day of the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017), which is being organised in the 'Land of a Thousand Smiles' - Thailand - under the aegis of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). Feminists from the Asia Pacific region, kindled a new optimism to collectively strike at the rise of authoritarian, patriarchal, late capitalism, by organising movements, for a more equitable and just world, through hope and love.

[Podcast] No excuse for inaction: Growing call to deliver on promise of gender justice

[Focus] Patriarchy abhors accountability: High time to walk the talk on gender justice!

Collective action and structural changes are vital for gender justice

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Judy Taguiwalo, politician and women's rights leader
[Watch video, listen podcast] Judy Taguiwalo is a politician as well as a women's rights activist of Philippines. She is the former Minister of Department of Social Welfare and Development of Philippines. Since her student days she has been in the forefront of advancing women’s rights, in relation to societal changes, and has been a member of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) since 1987.

[Spotlight] Feminism is about solidarity, not about matriarchy

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Globally, and in the Asia Pacific region, an authoritarian patriarchal rule is ascendant and feminist space is under increased attack. In order to exist, we sisters (or rather like minded feminists, who do not necessarily have to be females) will have to resist and persist. Resist this patriarchal ascendency and the consequent threats to civil society. And persist to challenge the exploitations and inequalities that are driving us towards unsustainable development.

Patriarchy abets the malaise of bride kidnapping

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Aizhamal Bakashova, SHAZET, Kyrgyzstan
(CNS image archives, 2015)
Bride kidnapping (marriage by abduction or capture) is still rampant in many Caucasian countries, including Kyrgyzstan. In fact, the 2015 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) committee report expressed its alarm at the high prevalence of marriages in Kyrgyzstan that result from bride kidnapping, which appears to be socially legitimized!

Women human rights defenders spearheading struggle for a better tomorrow

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Photo courtesy: Bee Pranom Somwong,
Protection International
The talk about 'sustainable development' and 'no one left behind' looks difficult to believe when people's lives, livelihoods, human rights and dignity are violated in pursuit of the so-called development . Bee Pranom Somwong, who works with Protection International, and is also among the key participants at the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017), which opens later this week in Chiang Mai, Thailand (7-9 September 2017), was recently in conversation with CNS (Citizen News Service) on the current development model.

Is global development agenda rooted in local realities?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Photo courtesy: Reasey Seng, Cambodia
Global processes for development should be rooted in and informed by the grassroots movements. But is there a gap or disconnection? Can we do better to ensure that development discourses at all levels are plugged in affected communities on the frontlines?

Will struggle of women human rights defenders lead to a just social order?

Photo courtesy: Maria Chin Abdullah, Malaysia
  • "On 14 September 2016, the Red Movement leader threatened me with the following statement: I will ambush her in the near future… She won’t feel peace even with 10 or 20 bodyguards, we will whip them… She may no longer walk on this earth."

Are development projects only for the rich?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Photo courtesy: Channy
Channy Yeam belongs to the minority indigenous Pu Nong tribe, who inhabit the Kbal Romeas village in Stung Treng Province’s Sesan District of Cambodia. She spoke with CNS (Citizen News Service) on the disastrous impact of the development projects, like hydro-electric dams, on the lives of local inhabitants and indigenous communities.

Profit and power over people will fail us on SDGs, says Fiji activist

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
A shrinking civic space is a reality in most countries today. Human rights defenders are being targetted by the State, even though the State is supposed to be the vanguard of human rights. In order to exist, civil society and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) will have to resist the regressive advances of the States that encroach upon their space and rights, and persist in their efforts to effectively insist for development justice.

[SDM Health Justice Lecture Series] Transforming research outcomes into public health gains: An urgent priority to #endTB

[Watch recording] [Listen to podcast] Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has kindly consented to deliver the September 2017 e-talk/ online lecture as part of the Shanti Devi Memorial Health Justice Lecture Series. She will speak on "Transforming research outcomes into public health gains: An urgent priority to #endTB".

The woes of the 'foreign brides': Xenophobia still lurks around

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Photo courtesy: Tsu-ying Liang, TASAT
Thirty years ago, Taiwan's economy was booming and was better than that of most South East Asian countries. At that time, even China's GDP was lower than Taiwan’s and their foreign policy was not welcoming foreigners. So back then many Vietnamese and Indonesian women migrated to marry Taiwanese men - they preferred them over those from other wealthy countries like Korea or Japan, because many Vietnamese and Indonesians are Chinese descendants.

Private public partnership and sustainable development: In harmony or in conflict with each other?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Are public private partnerships helpful or harmful to increase progress on sustainable development? CNS spoke with Gerifel Cerillo, the coordinator of 'Tanggol Bayi' - an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines on this issue. Gerifel will also be a key participant at the forthcoming 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF 2017), to be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand (7-9 September 2017).

Bottom Line: Men escalate domestic violence and women bear the brunt of it

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Mobina was married in 2009, at the age of 22, to a driver. Being the youngest of 8 siblings (4 brothers and 4 sisters), her vegetable-seller father (who died in 2010) and her brothers spent beyond their means in her wedding. But this could not satiate the greed of the sister of Mobina’s husband. She was harassed to bring more dowry. The daily dose of domestic violence forced Mobina to return to her parental home after just one year of her marriage.

Tackling social taboos to end TB

Dr Abha Jaiswal, CNS Correspondent, India
Addressing social stigma is pivotal to eliminating TB. The ‘TB Free India Summit’ was one such initiative organized by the International Union Against TB and Lung Diseases (the Union), USAID and Challenge TB to promote zero stigma and zero discrimination towards TB patients. A key highlight of the meet was a cricket match between celebrities and parliamentarians at Dharamsala, India on April 7-8, 2017.

Traversing TB’s undulating journey of ambitious targets and facile strategies in achieving SDGs

Roger Paul Kamugasha, CNS Correspondent, Uganda
TB is one of the oldest human infectious diseases, but it was only in 1882 that the German Nobel Laureate Dr Robert Koch discovered the cause of it—Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 135 years down the line of this discovery the disease still remains a silent killer. TB cases are still far from declining at the intended rate to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending TB by 2030.

[Call to register] Can mHealth help accelerate progress towards ending TB?

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen/ download podcast] Mobile health (mHealth) is being used in different ways by TB programmes in some high-burden countries. A recent study published in June 2017 shows that presumptive-TB case-referral by healthcare providers using mHealth went up manifold.

[SDM Health Justice Lecture Series] Inter-sectoral response to #endTB | Break the silence on TB and disabilities

[Watch lecture recording | Listen to podcast] Dr Sunil Khaparde, Deputy Director General (DDG), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; is the head of India's TB programme. Nandita Venkatesan works with The Economic Times and is a 2 time-intestinal TB survivor and patient-rights advocate. She lost over 90% of her hearing (profound deafness) due to a rare side-effect of a second-line TB drug. She recently gave a TEDx talk on her long ordeal and taking to Bharata Natyam dancing for healing.

Women should not live in fear, but act with courage

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
"One day, when my first child was barely 6 months old, my husband kicked away the water and food I had served him. On asking him the reason, he started pulling my hair and thrashing me. I was stunned at his sudden violent behaviour. But this was just the start of a never-ending saga of domestic violence that continues till today", said 30 years old Lakshmina. She hails from a Dalit community in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. The only sister of four brothers, Lakshmina is illiterate. She did start her schooling, but one day, while going to school, she met with an accident and hurt herself. Her doting mother immediately stopped sending her to school, saying that she did not want to risk her daughter’s life.

Caste inequity fuels gender injustice

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
It is important to recognize how gender injustices underpin the caste, class and social inequities. "I did start going to school. But as I am a Dalit (untouchable), I was made to sit away from the rest of the children. If I touched some upper caste child, even by mistake, I would be thrashed by the teachers - who were all Brahmins (upper caste). Even as a child I could feel the upper caste-Dalit divide. So, I stopped going to school. I am illiterate today because of the stigma against Dalits that still exists in our society, especially in rural areas. Later in life too, when I sought to work to make ends meet, my caste came in my way. Being a Dalit, nobody was ready to employ me as a domestic help. I was fit only for the job of a sweeper", shared Geeta (35 years).

[Webinar] Are TB rates declining fast enough to meet SDGs?

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen or download audio podcast] Not only our governments have committed to #endTB by 2030 by adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but recently convened G20 Summit earlier this month in Germany also reinforced the commitment to improve global response to anti-TB drug resistance.

Curbing cervical cancer in India

Dr. Abha Jaiswal, CNS Correspondent, India
“Cervical cancer? What is that?” wondered Shreya (name changed) when the doctor informed her about her condition. Shreya did not know much about cervical cancer and her first petrifying thoughts were that her two young daughters were going to become motherless. It was January 2010 Shreya, who had just turned 40, had been suffering from irregular menstrual bleeding and severe pelvic pain for a few months.

Generate stronger action to fight non-communicable diseases

Dr PS Sarma, CNS Correspondent, India
By endorsing Agenda 2030, governments around the world have committed to fight against NCDs which are responsible for nearly 70% of the premature deaths globally. One of the important targets of Agenda 2030 is to reduce these deaths by 33% by 2030, and all governments have to work towards achieving this goal. In a webinar organised by Citizen News Service (CNS), experts like Dr Ehsan Latif, Senior Advisor (NCDs), International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)   and Cristina Parsons Perez, Capacity Development Director, NCD Alliance  not only gave an overview of the present scenario of NCDs, but also detailed the corrective measures needed to stem the rising tide of these killer diseases.

Stronger action needed to stem the rising tide of diabetes

Dr Nachiket Sule, CNS Correspondent, India
Hemant (name changed) was diagnosed with diabetes in his early forties. Although, he had very few symptoms, the denial that it was diabetes was quite strong. Coming from an urban set-up he was able to diagnose the condition early on and triage it from other doctors as well. However, he admits that he was reluctant to take medicines for the rest of his life and neither did he want to live with restrictions that diabetes brings with it.

Time to scale up management of NCDs in Zimbabwe

Locadia Mavhudzi, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
Like many other developing countries, Zimbabwe too is faced by the triple burden of communicable, re-emerging and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).  World Health Organization statistics show that an estimated 31% of deaths in Zimbabwe in 2014 were a result of NCDs. However the response and management of these emerging killers remain relatively low and it is time to take urgent action. The rapid rise of NCDs represents one of the major health challenges to sustainable development.

NCDs: The dormant killers lurking within

Nothando Fruhwirth, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Luis (name changed) was suddenly beset with a constant pain in his chest and weakness, that made it impossible for him to work or function in the day. This onset of illness was a shock to him as he had been duly undergoing his regular medical check ups and had been given the clean bill of health. The routine stipulated HIV test, amongst other tests, was conducted to ensure that like so many others he was not infected with the virus. HIV is identified as the root cause of deaths amongst individuals— young and old. Due to public and media outcry within communities, there is global awareness about HIV, encouraging nations to come together to battle the deadly virus.

Domestic violence survivor faced challenges headlong and reclaimed her power back

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
“Earlier my husband would taunt me for not conceiving and said that I was barren. Then he became angry when I gave birth to a daughter. He warned me that if I ever produced a girl again, he would kill me. My in-laws would instigate him and he would thrash me. Father and son both used very abusive language and had no respect for women. The whole family is evil.  When the roots are weak, how can the tree be healthy?” said Devanta.

Will a feminist fossil-fuel-free future lead us to sustainable development?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
The inter-governmental meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development is being held during 10-19 July 2017, to review the progress made by nations around some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which governments have already committed to achieve by 2030. As we all know, climate justice is integral to sustainable development, yet we see governments pursuing development models that are actually pushing us backwards not only on climate justice but also on sustainable development.

Time is running out in the battle against NCDs

Dr Amitava Acharyya, CNS Correspondent, India
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 68% of global deaths and are projected to cause 75% of global deaths by 2030. Nearly 80% of these NCD related deaths occur in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Also, two thirds of NCD deaths are related to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. According to a WHO report, premature NCD mortality rates decreased globally by 15% between 2000 and 2012, mainly due to the decline in CVD deaths.

Non-communicable diseases: Are all hands on deck?

Alice Sagwidza Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
What has been known by a significant number of people is that there are some diseases one gets through contact with another person who has them (communicable diseases), and some diseases are not passed on through contact (non communicable diseases or NCDs). When epidemics like TB, Ebola, and HIV surfaced, it was a war like situation for which the world armoured itself with knowledge through research and clinical studies.