Domestic violence failed to bring her to her knees, it brought her to her feet

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
"I blame the administration and parents for most cases of gender violence in our society- administration, because there are hardly any schools for girls in remote areas; and parents because they marry off their daughters at a very young age. So girls like me are not only deprived of education but also have no opportunities to work. This, coupled with an early marriage, leaves them helpless in the face of injustices meted to them by a patriarchal society". Words of wisdom indeed from Gayatri Devi, who could study only till Class 5 as there was no girls' school in her village, located in a forest area.

Driving out stigma will make it easier for people to talk and heal

Despite growing attention to range of multi-faceted stigma related to HIV and TB, it still not only jeopardizes lives of affected communities but also blocks access to care. At the recently convened 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico, CNS (Citizen News Service) spoke with few leaders from affected communities to listen to their insights on how to improve TB and HIV care as well as address stigma.

Linked? Mental health, palliative care and treatment of drug-resistant TB

Diverse range of mental health needs need proper attention and care from healthcare providers if are to improve treatment outcomes for people with drug resistant forms of TB or people living with HIV (PLHIV). When treatments span over years or lifetime, and drugs used can be very toxic and may have serious side effects, mental health needs become even more acute. But despite guidelines for palliative care for patients with drug-resistant TB, we are not ‘walking the talk’ on the ground.

TB, HIV and diabetes: Voices from the field

Scientific evidence, policy and programmatic linkages between TB and HIV as well as TB and diabetes (and HIV and NCDs) have been getting more attention in recent years, but still lot more synergy between different 'silos' is warranted for optimal public health outcomes. At the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health, several experts from range of countries presented their studies looking at these connections between diseases. If governments are to deliver on the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrated responses from grounds up are indeed an imperative!

Back to basics to #endTB: Do it right the first time, every time!

[Watch video interview] [Listen to podcast] Are we losing grip on the evidence-based basic principles that were in the core of fighting tuberculosis? Challenges like drug resistance which are posing a threat to global health security warrant a review. Also, the #endTB dream will continue to remain a mirage if we fail to address social influencers that increase TB risk for a large majority of our populations, severely impacting the most disadvantaged. These were some of the insights shared by Dr Anne Fanning, who has dedicatedly worked for fighting infectious diseases especially TB, and was instrumental in bringing issues of less heard populations such as indigenous peoples to the fore.

[Podcast] Linked: Diabetes and latent TB, active TB disease, MDR-TB, tobacco smoking!

[Webinar] Diabetes and latent TB, active TB disease, MDR-TB, tobacco smoking

Gender equity is must for tackling TB

Shobha Shukla, CNS (Citizen News Service)
According to the WHO Global TB Report 2016, of the 10.4 million new TB cases in 2015, 5.9 million were men (56%), 3.5 million were women (34%) and 1.0 million were children (10%). The global male:female ratio was 1.6:1. Also there were 1.77 million deaths in 2015 due to TB: 1.06 million (59%) were men, 0.50 million (28%) were women and 0.21 million (13%) were children. While the TB bacteria might not differentiate between its male and female preys, men and women do face different risk factors for TB and different barriers to successful TB diagnosis and treatment.

Urban #TB hotspots cannot be on blindspot, if we are to #endTB!

Our governments have committed to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 but without concerted action, the promises will barely remain a mirage. For instance, unless social influencers of tuberculosis (TB) get due attention from all different sectors that have a role to play, we cannot end TB. Also with rapid urbanization, we need to address TB in the context of urban planning and development, that is rapidly and aggressively taking place globally. Although burden of TB varies across countries, but one trend is undeniably too common to miss: the alarming manner in which TB is concentrated in vulnerable populations not just in least developed and developing nations but also in the developed world.

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] Webinar: What's the link? Diabetes, latent TB, active TB disease and MDR-TB

[Watch webinar recording] [Listen/ download audio podcast] 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
[हिंदी] 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.