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. 

Overcoming premature deaths from non communicable diseases

Francis Okoye, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Health experts from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and NCD Alliance, and a cancer survivor who is also Founder President of Race to Rein in Cancer took part in a lively webinar, organised by Citizens News Service (CNS) on the topic ‘How can we generate stronger action against Non-Communicable Diseases?’

[SDM Health Justice Lecture Series] Engaging health and non-health sectors to increase access to child-friendly TB medicines in Kenya

[Watch lecture recording | Listen to podcast | presentation slides] Dr Enos Masini is the TB advisor at the World Health Organization (WHO) Kenya country office. He has previously served as the head of the National Tuberculosis Program in Kenya and was instrumental in roll-out of first-ever child-friendly TB medicines. Dr Enos Masini has kindly consented to deliver the July 2017 e-talk/ online lecture as part of the Shanti Devi Memorial Health Justice Lecture Series.

Reversal of the tide of NCDs requires a strategy shift

Roger Paul Kamugasha, CNS Correspondent
Of the 56.4 million global deaths in 2015, 39.5 million, or 70%, were due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. The burden of these diseases is rising disproportionately among lower income countries and populations.

Cervical Cancer: A manageable threat

Josephine Chinele, CNS Correspondent, Malawi
The vaginal discharges became too much to bear and Maria (name changed) went to a nearby health facility to seek medical assistance. She has had these discharges for a long time but thought they were normal as they were not painful, and she was simply irritated by them. The medical assistant said that she had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Maria was given treatment, and advised to ask her husband to also receive treatment.

Communicate with each other to beat the non-communicable diseases

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
[Watch webinar recording] [Listen or download the podcast]
According to the Global Status Report on NCDs, India shares more than two-thirds of the total death burden due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the southeast Asia region of the World Health Organization. Around 5.87 million (58.7 lakh) deaths, which is 60% of all deaths in India, are attributed to NCDs.

Justice delayed is justice denied, says domestic violence survivor

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)

Belia (45 years), comes from a poor Dalit (marginalised community) family of Uchiyapur village in Chitrakoot, India. Daughter of a farm labourer and the only sister of 4 brothers, Belia was married at the tender age of 15 to a school teacher. From day one, her husband misbehaved with her and abused her physically, more so because she was too timid to protest.

[Podcast] Never ever give up, says Dr Rita Banik, cancer survivor and noted educationist

"Never ever give up" says Dr Rita Banik, cancer survivor and noted educationist

Spice it up with cinnamon to tackle metabolic syndrome

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur due to imbalance of the body’s structural and biochemical processes which determine its metabolic functioning. It results in disorders like insulin resistance, clustering of abdominal obesity, high blood lipids, high blood sugar and hypertension, and increased risk of clotting, predisposing individuals to diabetes, stroke and coronary heart diseases.

[Webinar] How can we generate stronger action against Non-Communicable Diseases?

[Watch the webinar recording] One of the important outcomes of the 70th World Health Assembly held in May 2017 was a firm mandate from governments globally to generate stronger action against the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that account for 70% premature deaths.Combating NCDs is "one of my priorities for the WHO" said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, newly elected WHO Director General.

Barriers to HIV status disclosure

Catherine Mwauyakufa, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
[First published in Manica Post]
HIV testing and counselling emphasises the importance of status disclosure between sexual partners. This is to encourage partners to also get tested.  It helps prevent new infections. It increases opportunities for support and treatment for the one infected. But there are a number of reasons why one cannot not disclose his or her status after testing HIV positive.

Tobacco threatens the health of everyone

Francis Okoye, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Tobacco threatens the health of everyone on planet earth. ‘Tobacco kills nearly half of its users. 1/3 of the world is addicted to it, 1/3 of the world is poor, and 1/3 of the world suffers from TB. Tobacco kills 7 million people each year, 1 million of them being victims of second hand smoke. Tobacco use brings suffering, disease and death in its wake. It impoverishes families and national economics. 80% of premature death from tobacco are from poor, and middle income countries.’

Tobacco endgame is imperative for sustainable development

Dr Sophia Thomas, CNS Correspondent, India
It was my first clinical posting in the oral medicine department as a final year BDS (dental) student. A patient walked into the clinic nervously. He was a migrant daily wage construction worker in his late 20’s, married with 2 children. He complained of pain and multiple ulcers in the mouth. Upon careful examination, it looked like a case of oral cancer. I enquired about his smoking history and he admitted to have been smoking since he was 13 years old and also consumed chewable tobacco.

Food, nay tobacco, for thought

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
The curtain is finally down on the World No Tobacco Day 2017 and we are back to business as usual. There was a flurry of activities in my city, and elsewhere too, during the weeks preceding this day, reaching a crescendo on the 30th and 31st of May. Barring very few exceptions, the script of all the programmes/ discourses seemed to be taken from the same master copy.

Bimla Misra Memorial Health Fellowships

Mrs Bimla Misra, who breathed her last on 12th September 2013 at the age of 84 years, is an example of living and dying with dignity and grace. True to her profession of an educationist, she taught her students till one month before her demise, and then donated her body to the cause of medical education to King George's Medical University (KGMU), sans any rituals.

[Podcast] A tobacco-free world can avert one-third cancers

[Watch video interview] [Listen or download this audio podcast] In this special World No Tobacco Day 2017 episode of CNS Focus interview series, we feature a special guest who has not only made lifetime contribution in medical oncology but also demonstrates leadership on cancer prevention, palliative care and advancing tobacco control: Prof (Dr) Bishnu Dutta Paudel, Professor of Medical Oncology, at the National Academy of Medical Sciences, Bir Hospital, Nepal, is also the Programme Director of Medical Oncology at NAMS, and member of Tobacco Tax Fund in Nepal. He was conferred upon the first Palliative Care Award for South Asian Region 5 years back. [Watch video interview] [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Focus] At least one-third cancers are caused by preventable factor: tobacco

Prof (Dr) KC Mohanty is no more: Not afraid of death, his life was an example of what he taught

Emeritus Director Professor (Dr) Kishore Chandra Mohanty is no more. He died yesterday (1st June 2017) at Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital after a brief illness. Prof Mohanty's fond colleague, student and ardent supporter Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India, shared his heart-wrenching irreparable loss "On 29th May 2017, when I met him on my way to the airport (I was going to Hong Kong for a meeting), he held my hand and did not leave it for a long time. Perhaps he had had an intuition. Sir please transfer the balance of your courage to us and forgive us if we were short of our efforts anywhere - and this was because you were not available to guide us during last few days”.

Community togetherness for health benefits

Catherine Mwauyakufa, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
[First published in Manica Post]
The state of HIV disclosure in rural areas is more open as compared to urban areas. Disclosure in rural communities is better managed at a community level, through well knit people living in the same geographical area. People hailing from the same village know who suffers from diabetes mellitus, hypertension and chronic backache or asthma.

Shanti Devi Memorial Health Justice Lecture Series

Shanti Devi Memorial Health Justice Lecture Series, is a series of online lectures/ e-talks exploring inter-sectoral solutions for specific health problems. Health is an outcome, determinant and enabler of sustainable development.

Tobacco farming should not be an occupational life choice

Alice Sagwidza Tembe, CNS Correspondent, Swaziland
Life always throws a rock and a hard place and, as individuals, every day we have to make a choice. This week I engaged a colleague, Rutendo Mamba (name changed) on the choices to be made regarding the use of tobacco. In no uncertain terms Rutendo expressed that shutting down the tobacco industry will rob a large population of a source of livelihood.

Tobacco endgame is critical 'cog in the wheel' for sustainable development

[World No Tobacco Day 2017 Webinar recording | Podcast] Although governments have promised sustainable development by 2030 by adopting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but tobacco triggered pandemics threaten to stall or even reverse the progress made.

[Podcast] Nepal leads the South Asian region with strong tobacco control laws: Enforcement needs more work

[Listen or download this Podcast] In this special World No Tobacco Day 2017 Podcast, let's listen to Ananda Bahadur Chand, Chairperson of Action Nepal, who is devotedly waging a fierce battle against tobacco in Nepal. Every tobacco related death can be averted and saving lives from premature deaths caused by tobacco is what drives Ananda Bahadur Chand. [Listen or download this Podcast]

[Focus] Saving lives from tobacco in Nepal is a human rights imperative

Equal partnerships are crucial to achieve Agenda 2030

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
[Listen or download this audio podcast] [Watch this video interview] The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) had organised a potentially game-changing meet in Bangkok to review the progress made on increasing effectiveness and accountability of civil society organisations (CSOs) since adoption of the Istanbul Principles seven years back and to brainstorm how Istanbul Principles can make Agenda 2030 a transformative one.

Like sand slipping through fingers, anti-TB drug resistance threatens to unwind the progress

There is no doubt that groundbreaking progress has been made in fight against tuberculosis (TB) in the past two decades, but it might be prudent to review if we are winning the fight in order to #endTB by 2030. Do we slip backwards when we fail to prevent every single transmission of new TB infection or when a new person becomes resistant to anti-TB drugs? Are we sliding farther away from our #endTB goalpost, when we fail to ensure early diagnosis, effective treatment and successful cure?

Policy and harm reduction: What about the people?

Dr Ian Hodgson, CNS Correspondent
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 25th Harm Reduction International Conference (#HR17), Montreal, Canada's Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, stated that, “Addiction is not a crime, or a moral failing, and not a bad choice, but a health problem.”

Connecting 'silos': Interdependence is key to #endTB in sustainable development era

When major weak-spots go beyond the purview of health ministry, inter-sectoral programming becomes critical to progress towards ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, globally. Indian government has committed to end TB by 2025 - a welcome political commitment indeed - but warrants urgent and unprecedented actions to muscle up the required pace to keep this promise.

Drug checking and harm reduction: It could save lives

Dr Ian Hodgson, CNS Correspondent
At the 25th Harm Reduction International Conference (#HR17)  held in Montreal earlier this week, over 1000 people gathered to address one of the great public health challenges of our time: the lack of adequate support for people who use drugs, and an increasingly hostile and economically austere environment that denies basic services to a vulnerable population. Delegates at the conference include activists, researchers, community workers, and people who use drugs.

Do not leave the migrants behind!

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Eni Lestari, Chair of International Migrants Alliance (R)
and Shobha Shukla, CNS Managing Editor (L)
There are an estimated 232 million international migrants (UN DESA, 2013) and740 million internal migrants (UNDP, 2009) in the world. They form a significant part of the world's working class and it is difficult to imagine any country that can stand alone in this global world, without the contribution of migrants. Even though countries' economies have benefited from them, yet they are not recognised as a legitimate workforce by governments and are taken as a threat to their economic stability.

[Podcast] Why is tobacco control critical for development?

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen or download audio podcast]  This webinar in lead up to 2017 World No Tobacco Day Webinar featured experts: Michelle Syonne Reyes Palmones, Technical Advisor (Philippines), International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union); Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, WHO Director General's WNTD Awardee 2005; and Cloe Franko, Senior International Organizer, Challenge Big Tobacco, Corporate Accountability International and Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) leadership. [Listen or download audio podcast]

[Webinar] Tobacco endgame is an imperative for sustainable development

Legacy of Dominic D'Souza lives on

Last week marked the twenty-fifth death anniversary of Dominic D'Souza, India's first person living with HIV who had waged a brave battle against HIV stigma and discrimination. Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India (ASI) who was among the first few doctors who came forward for HIV care when first case got diagnosed in the country, said "The news of Dominic D'Souza who was jailed in Goa, on being found HIV positive, was brought to our [Indian Health Organization, now known as People's Health Organization] notice by his friends Isabel Vaz and Anesia Colaso."

Protests mark the 18th meeting of the regional comprehensive economic partnership

Amid growing opposition against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Philippines, and across Asia Pacific, held actions and demonstrations to protest against this regional trade deal currently under negotiation between 16 participating countries.

People with asthma can lead a normal life

Pritha Roy Choudhury, CNS Correspondent, India
Oh No! Not another attack again! Keshav (name changed) felt a tightness in his chest that pulled him down to the chair. It was 7:45 in the morning and by this time he should have been at the metro station to reach office by time for a meeting scheduled for 10:45 am. The intensity of the attacks are increasing these days, he murmured. Keshav had missed taking his inhalation as the drug that he uses to control the asthma attack is not easily available.

You may not cure but control your asthma

Tuyeimo Haidula, CNS Correspondent, Namibia
Asthma is a neglected tropical disease which cannot be cured but it can be treated and controlled. Good asthma control means a person can live life normally with no or very minimal symptoms. These were the sentiments shared by experts during a recently organised webinar by Citizen News Service (CNS) for media in lead up to World Asthma Day 2017.