[Call to register] Webinar: How can we generate stronger action against Non-Communicable Diseases?

[Click here to register] 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.

Cleaning up the air we breathe

Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS
My first personal brush with the severity of asthma was several years ago, when  one of my students suddenly started gasping for breath in the middle of her Physics Practical final examination of Class 12. We were clueless about the cause of her sudden affliction. Other than making her sit in the open air and force her to drink water, we did not know what to do. A frantic phone call to her parents elicited that it was an attack of asthma as she had forgotten her inhaler at home. Thankfully she normalized after a while. But the memory of those agonizing 15 minutes still remains etched in my mind.

Webinar: Tobacco endgame is imperative for sustainable development

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen or download audio podcast] The theme of 2017 World No Tobacco Day could not have been better: Tobacco is a threat to development. The World Health Organization (WHO) too believes that this theme will demonstrate the threat the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including the health and economic well-being of their citizens.

Bringing TB out of the shadows

So said Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union). TB related stigma and discrimination still lurks in our communities and blocks access to existing care services. Jose shared several examples where TB patients felt isolated, frustrated and cornered enough to resort to extreme acts of desperation like suicide.

Winning the war against asthma

Francis Okoye, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
Asthma affects more than 300 million people world wide. The Global Asthma report 2014 says that asthma is a major global health problem. Although there is no permanent cure for it, it can be treated and controlled. Good asthma control means no or very minimal symptoms, and a low risk of asthma attacks or other poor outcomes. More importantly, good asthma control means that a person can live life normally.

#IndiaVsTB: Keeping workforce healthy is also a smart business strategy

Later this month, health ministers of our governments will convene for World Health Assembly (WHA) to shape the agenda of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as elect its new leader as Dr Margaret Chan's tenure as WHO Director-General comes to an end. During Dr Chan's leadership of WHO, adoption of the WHO End TB Strategy in WHA 2014 and world leaders coming together to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at UN General Assembly 2016, are among the key milestone moments.

[Podcast] Environment, lung health, spirituality: Linked?


[Listen or download this audio podcast] Emeritus Director Professor (Dr) Kishore Chandra Mohanty is widely acclaimed not only as a senior chest physician but also highly respected as a medical teacher, physician, social worker, educationist and spiritualist. His contribution on lung health, and linking lung health to environment, life influencing work with tribal communities in Maharashtra, leadership in engaging medical experts in north-eastern states or Jammu and Kashmir for instance, needs a special mention. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Focus] Prof KC Mohanty linking the dots: Lung health, environment, teaching and spirituality


Lung health and environment are integral to life: says Professor (Dr) KC Mohanty

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
(L to R) Film star Anil Kapoor, Dr Ishwar Gilada,
and Professor Dr KC Mohanty
[Watch video interview] [Listen or download podcast] Lung health and environment are both integral to sustainable living, said Emeritus Professor (Dr) Kishore Chandra Mohanty, who is a globally acclaimed lung health expert as well as devoted environment crusader. His living is the best example of what he teaches. A senior medical teacher, who has mentored many generations of chest physicians and doctors, and widely respected expert, Prof KC Mohanty shared his insights in lung health, environment, social development and spirituality at the recently convened National Conference on Pulmonary Diseases (NAPCON 2016).

How will we avert asthma deaths without definitive diagnostics and universal access to effective treatment?

(Watch webinar recording, listen or download podcast] [हिंदी] The Government of India along with other governments have committed to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (including asthma) by one-third by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). The National Health Policy 2017 of India also promises to "reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025".

[Podcast] Civic spaces are crucial for fully achieving Agenda 2030, say two senior government representatives


[Watch video interview] [Listen or download this audio podcast]
Two senior government officials share why developing civic spaces is crucial to help governments and all development actors, for fully achieving Agenda 2030.  HE Judy Taguiwalo, Minister of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines; and HE Brendan Rogers, Ambassador of Ireland to Thailand; were in conversation with CNS Managing Editor Shobha Shukla, at the "Breaking Grounds, Taking Roots: The Istanbul Principles @7" in Thailand. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Focus] Civic spaces are crucial in achieving Agenda 2030: Government representatives



Deep condolences on sudden demise of beloved friend Akhilesh Shukla

We express our deepest condolence on the sudden demise of our beloved friend Akhilesh Shukla. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a major concern and Akhilesh's loss is also a grim reminder of how age at which CVDs strike are slipping downwards. An MCA, Akhilesh was managing his own IT company in partnership, since 2011. We knew him not only for providing prompt computer hardware and software services to CNS, but also for his active involvement with our Vote For Health campaign.

Can Istanbul Principles help develop civic spaces for implementing Agenda 2030?

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
Julia Sanchez, President-CEO, CCIC (left)
Shobha Shukla, Managing Editor, CNS (right)
[Watch video interview] [Listen or download this audio podcast] The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) meet on 'Breaking Ground and Taking Root: The Istanbul Principles @7' provided a space for civil society organisations (CSOs) to reflect on the importance of Istanbul Principles (IPs) in charting common strategies and mobilizing constituencies to strengthen efforts to improve the effectiveness and quality of CSO development work. 

[Podcast] Istanbul Principles, shrinking civic spaces and Agenda 2030: Insights from Julia Sanchez


[Watch video interview] [Listen or download this audio podcast] Julia Sanchez is the President-CEO of Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and Co-Chair of CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE).  She was in conversation with CNS Managing Editor Shobha Shukla, at the "Breaking Grounds, Taking Roots: The Istanbul Principles @7", which happened recently in Bangkok, Thailand. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Focus] Can Istanbul Principles safeguard civic spaces for achieving Agenda 2030?



[Podcast] World Asthma Day 2017: Universal access to asthma care is imperative for Agenda 2030


[Listen or download this audio podcast] [Watch webinar recording] This is the World Asthma Day 2017 Webinar recording. People with asthma can live normal lives if their asthma is managed properly. But low awareness, health systems challenges and inaccessible asthma care are among the major factors that contribute towards poor management of asthma, adding to avoidable emergency hospitalization at times too. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Webinar] World Asthma Day 2017: Manage asthma well and live life normally!


[Focus] Equal, accountable and effective partnerships can help deliver on Agenda 2030



[Podcast] Equal, accountable and effective partnerships are essential for Agenda 2030


[Listen or download this audio podcast] Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) was one of the key participants at the "Breaking Grounds, Taking Roots: The Istanbul Principles @7", a potentially game-changing meeting of hundreds of civil society champions from around the world along with some government representatives among others, which happened recently in Bangkok, Thailand. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Call to register] Webinar in lead up to World Asthma Day

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen or download this audio podcast] Please be welcome to join us in this special webinar in lead up to 2017 World Asthma Day. People with asthma can live normal lives if their asthma is managed properly. But low awareness, health systems challenges and inaccessible asthma care are among the major factors that contribute towards poor management of asthma, adding to avoidable emergency hospitalization at times too.

[Focus] Do not leave migrants behind in Agenda 2030, says Eni Lestari


[Podcast] Do not leave migrants behind in Agenda 2030, says Chair of International Migrants' Alliance


[Listen or download this audio podcast] Eni Lestari is the Chairperson of International Migrants' Alliance, which is the first-ever global alliance of organizations of grassroots migrants, refugees and displaced peoples.   Eni Lestari was one of the key participants at the "Breaking Grounds, Taking Roots: The Istanbul Principles @7", a potentially game-changing meeting of hundreds of civil society champions from around the world along with some government representatives among others, which happened recently in Bangkok, Thailand. Eni Lestari was in conversation with CNS Managing Editor Shobha Shukla. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Podcast] #IndiaVsTB: Film stars and public health experts call upon ending TB stigma and catastrophic costs


[Listen or download this audio podcast] This CNS Podcast episode features 3 Indian film-stars Suniel Shetty, Sonu Sood and Suhail Khan, and Executive Director of International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union) Jose Luis Castro, along with Deepti Chavan, who is not only a TB survivor but also champions the cause for improving TB care for all those in need. They were key speakers at the TB Free India Summit held on World Health Day 2017 in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. [Listen or download this audio podcast]

[Podcast] Collective action can help accelerate the pace to #endTB, says Rhea Lobo at #IndiaVsTB


[Listen or download the audio podcast] Rhea Lobo, a noted international award winning film-maker and a freelance journalist, is also a TB survivor. She shared her insights on how to accelerate the pace to end TB at the potentially-game changing inter-sectoral meet, TB Free India Summit  (#IndiaVsTB) at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, on World Health Day 2017 [Listen or download the audio podcast].

Indian HIV doctors pay tribute to untimely death of noted HIV scientist Dr Mark Wainberg

Pioneering Canadian HIV researcher Dr Mark Wainberg, died of drowning in Bal Harbour, Florida, USA, at the age of 71 years. Asthma attack took away this top HIV scientist. "His family was with him, and his son tried to rescue him, was able to locate Dr. Wainberg, and began to swim back to shore with him. He was transported to the hospital in Miami, where he was pronounced dead" shared Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India (ASI).

Breaking the news to children living with HIV

Catherine Mwauyakufa, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
(First published in Manica Post)
Parents and guardians with children on anti retroviral therapy (ART) have a lot to consider before initiating them on life-long medication. Medication for diabetes mellitus (DM) is easily explained to a child as compared to those on ARVs. Normally, a child with diabetes will understand the condition better as compared to a child who is HIV positive and has to take ARVs for life.

Trading indifference on the triggers of TB is amplifying the burden globally

Roger Paul Kamugasha, CNS Correspondent, Uganda
As we applaud the effort of global players in the fight against TB for the immense resources invested to end TB by 2030, let me, as a TB activist, strongly grieve because of the persistent and pseudo ignorance exhibited  by our global planners. This year’s Global Theme is “Unite to End TB” with the slogan of “Find the Missing Patients with TB”. I find these appropriate and concur with the phrasing. It is in black and white that about 9 million people get TB every year around the world and nearly 2 million deaths are caused by TB alone. This means with every passing minute, 3 persons die of TB and it is  also the leading killer among HIV infected people, responsible for the 30% deaths of HIV positive people.

Inter-sectoral and well-coordinated battle to #endTB is imperative to deliver on Agenda 2030

[हिंदी] Growing political commitment of governments globally to #endTB is indeed welcoming but governments need to walk the talk too to #endTB and deliver on promises of integrated sustainable development by 2030.

India to finalise a national strategy plan to end TB

Aarti Dhar, CNS Correspondent, India
India will shortly finalise a national strategy to end tuberculosis (TB) in the country by 2025; this was announced by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda to mark the International TB Day on March 24. The 'daily regimen' of TB drugs, which has been found to be more effective than intermittent treatment, will also be rolled out across the country this year. As of now, this regimen is being implemented in only five states.

The struggle against TB continues

Clarity Sibanda, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has become the latest, and one of the few countries, in the region to roll out the latest TB drug called Delamanid, to treat difficult case of multi drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB. The new TB treatment program will see patients taking one drug per day as opposed to between 12 and 16 tablets. The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa said the introduction of the new drug is anticipated to help the country improve cure rates.

"Storms make trees take deeper roots": Insights of a cancer survivor with indomitable spirit

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
- CNS Special on World Health Day 2017 -
"One night, in the summer of 2013, I felt a twitch in my breast. It was something like if you hurt your toenail. Having a family history of cancer, I did not want to take any chance, and promptly saw my doctor the very next day. He reassured me that there was nothing to worry, more so because there was no lump."