Pandemic is over but the fight to end corporate capture of healthcare intensifies

When 99% of the people worldwide were reeling under the severe COVID-19 pandemic and cascading humanitarian crises, 1% of the corporate elites continued to sinisterly push for privatisation of public services and minted even more profits. More shocking is the fact that corporate plunder peaked (even in healthcare) during the severest of public health emergencies in recent times.

People’s spirit to help each other shone bright in the darkest of COVID-19 times

Despite the grief and sorrow brimming in people’s hearts during the severest of the COVID-19 pandemic waves, the indomitable spirit to help each other survived and shone bright.

Close the tap: Mopping the floor approach is not enough to end TB

As per the latest Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO), globally 10.6 million people developed TB in 2021 - an increase of 4.5% from 10.1 million in 2020. Eight of the thirty high TB burden countries (India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo) accounted for 68% of the global total with India leading the pack at 28%.

Ending tobacco use is the bedrock for progressing towards ending TB and SDGs

Globally all governments have promised to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, with the Indian government aiming to end it 5 years before the global target. TB was the deadliest of all infectious diseases till the pandemic hit us. But if we look at TB high burden nations, such as India and Indonesia, it continues to be the biggest killer infectious disease leaving COVID-19 behind - though undeniably, even one death due to TB or COVID-19, is a death too many.

The conundrum of TB, tobacco use and NCDs in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific region had over 6.7 million new TB cases and over 883,000 people died of TB in 2021, as per the latest Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO). The top 5 biggest risk factors that caused TB disease in 2021 in Asia Pacific region were undernourishment (1.2 million new cases), tobacco use (502,000 new TB cases), alcohol (486,000 new TB cases), diabetes (234,000 new TB cases), and HIV (209,000 new TB cases).

Will lessons from COVID-19 and TB vaccine rollout improve pandemic preparedness and health security?

TB high burden countries India and Nigeria both have had decades of experience in rolling out the TB vaccine. Both nations were successful (even if not ideal) in reaching out to a large part of their populations with COVID-19 vaccination. Are there any lessons that we can learn from this experience of rolling out vaccines against TB and COVID-19, which might pave the way for improving preparedness for the rollout of future vaccines?

Blunting of AIDS epidemic: It's time for zero-complacency and stronger action

After over 42 years when HIV virus was first detected, the fight against AIDS has indeed come a long way. Ending AIDS by 2030 means that every person globally has access to full spectrum of combination prevention options to protect oneself from HIV, all people living with HIV know their status, receive lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, and remain virally suppressed. Science-proven fact that when HIV virus is at undetectable levels then it is untransmittable too, or “undetectable equals untransmittable” (U Equals U) needs to be a reality in life of every person living with HIV.

Is HIV self-test among the missing links to reach the #endAIDS goal?

[हिन्दी] Almost half the countries worldwide have not yet included HIV self-test in their AIDS response. Only one-fourth of all nations globally do HIV self-test routinely. This is despite the strong evidence which exists not only for HIV self-test, but also how self-tests for COVID-19, diabetes, or pregnancy, have yielded major public health and development gains. Then why wait to expand HIV care cascade by including HIV self-test, asks Dr Ishwar Gilada, who was the first medical doctor to begin HIV medical management when first case got diagnosed in the country in 1986.

Will shorter, safer and more effective TB regimen reach those in need?

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"Patients in India and other countries are falling ill with drug-resistant TB every day. We believe these patients should not have to wait, they need better treatments today – not one or few years down the line. We have the data and strong scientific evidence to show why shorter, safer, more effective regimens to treat drug resistant TB be scaled up programmatically” said Dr Animesh Sinha, Advisor for Tuberculosis at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders.

We cannot end TB if we leave the older people behind

Despite an alarming TB burden among the older people, programmatic response to address it is far from optimal, said Dr Vijay Kumar Arora, Chairperson of TB Association of India, who is also the Chairperson of Southeast Asia region of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union).

When disease burden is low, why COVID-19 continues to be called a pandemic?

[Watch on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook] On 30 January 2023, three years after the WHO had first declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO announced that COVID-19 continues to be a public health emergency of international concern.

It is time to get back to basics if we are to end TB

This year’s World TB Day theme is #WeCanEndTB. However, many nations in the global north were successful in eliminating TB as a public health threat many decades back.

Smoking rates decline in Cambodia but challenges remain to #endTobacco

New study findings show that the number of tobacco smokers in Cambodia has declined by one-fifth during the 2014-2021 period. However, to end tobacco use which remains the single largest preventable cause of diseases and untimely deaths, stronger urgent actions are needed in Cambodia, and globally.

The Djinn of vaccine hesitancy: Is it still out?

[हिन्दी] It was a busy day for Usman Mu’azu Yusuf as he negotiated with customers at his shop in the Nasarawa GRA area of Kano, Kano State, in Nigeria. The proximity between him and his customers was well less than the one-metre stipulated for the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Shadow pandemic: Gender-based violence is one of the biggest human rights violations

Although the world gave unprecedented attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it has long ignored paying heed to one of the most widespread violations of human rights globally: sexual and other forms of gender-based violence – a shadow pandemic that has been menacingly lurking since long. May be it is the deep-seated patriarchy and its sinister links with capitalism and religious fundamentalism that prevents us from ending all forms of violence against women and girls, and other people of different gender identities and expressions.

Thai government shuts down key-population led PrEP services

Mounting pressure on government to reverse policies jeopardising HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men, transgender women and sex workers

(published in aidsmap on 13 February 2023)

[video] Why has Thailand jolted its community-led HIV response as well as other disease prevention and health promotion?

[podcast] Why has Thailand jolted its community-led HIV response as well as other disease prevention and health promotion?

This podcast features Natthakarn Laohacharoensombat from MPLUS Foundation Thailand, who explains in details how community-led interventions that were instrumental in improving access to thousands of people to #PreExposureProphylaxis #PrEP and #PostExposureProphylaxis #PEP, are threatened and disrupted due to recent Government decisions. These recent government decisions also impact access to free HIV testing for all or condoms and other HIV prevention services.

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, aCast, Podtail, BluBrry, Himalaya, ListenNotes, American Podcasts, CastBox FM, Ivy FM, Player FM, and other podcast streaming platforms.

[video] Dr Nittaya Phanuphak demands urgent resolution of policy challenges threatening Thai AIDS response

[podcast] Dr Nittaya Phanuphak demands urgent resolution of challenges confronting Thai AIDS response

This podcast features Dr Nittaya Phanuphak, Executive Director of IHRI (Institute of HIV Research and Innovation) who got twice elected to the Governing Council of International AIDS Society (IAS) from Asia Pacific region, and currently serves on the GC IAS too. 

She explains in details how community-led interventions that were instrumental in improving access to thousands of people to #PreExposureProphylaxis #PrEP and #PostExposureProphylaxis #PEP, are threatened and disrupted due to recent Government decisions. These recent government decisions also impact access to free HIV testing for all or condoms and other HIV prevention services. Now several groups like APCOM, IHRI, Raks Thai Foundation, Swing Foundation, Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, FHI 360, MPlus Foundation Chiang Mai, among others are lobbying the Thai government to reverse this policy guideline, and resume and scale up access to HIV prevention and whole range of services which is key to be on track to #endAIDS by 2030. 

[podcast] Will Thailand government reverse the decision that disrupted access to HIV prevention services like PrEP?

This podcast features Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director of APCOM who shares insights on the how recent decisions made by Thailand government has disrupted community-led HIV prevention services such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

[video] Will Thailand government #TakeBack policy that has disrupted access to #PrEP?

Whither women's reproductive health in Asia Pacific

Healthcare centre in northern Thailand (CNS photo library)

While the world has made many advancements in healthcare, millions of women and girls in low- and low-middle income countries are still far away from having bodily autonomy and are not able to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Even in countries like Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, or Thailand where total fertility rate is relatively low, despite such commendable progress, there are challenges yet to be overcome.

[podcast] #HeroLiesInYou | Muffy Lutzin's insights on her life journey to explore the world (and inwards)

This podcast features Massachusetts General Hospital former staff Muffy Lutzin, 77, who has travelled to ~80 countries worldwide - exploring the world as well as exploring her own inner world, challenging her fears and inhibitions, discovering new lights and energies, and connecting with people and to her own self - #hearttoheart - worldwide. She shares her insights of her own #LifeJourney with CNS leader Shobha Shukla on why the only way to live fully is to be #BeYou!  

🔶 The Hero Lies In You - a special CNS series - salutes extraordinary lives of living legends around us.

Listen to this podcast on Apple PodcastsAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneInaCastPodtailBluBrryHimalayaListenNotesAmerican PodcastsCastBox FMIvy FMPlayer FM, and other podcast streaming platforms.

Violence against women and girls is not cultural but criminal

Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. It manifests itself in many forms: sexual violence, physical violence, emotional and psychological violence, harmful traditional practices, socio-economic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence. Explicit and implicit cultural legitimation for violence against women and girls has to end if we are to deliver on the promise of a socially just and ecologically sustainable world order for everyone.

Build the world we want: A healthy future for all

So goes the theme of this year’s (2022) Universal Health Coverage Day. Air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat are the three basic necessities to sustain life. But the poor quality of any of these can lead to unhealthy outcomes, which we are seeing in today’s world in the form of a plethora of air, water and food borne illnesses. Destruction of biodiversity by humans is also creating conditions that abet the spread of new diseases. Logging, mining, deforestation, road construction, all bring people into closer contact with animal species. Data show that an estimated 75% of the emerging infectious diseases in humans have an animal origin, triggered by viruses or bacteria.

[video] Bolster the implementation of #OneHealth approach to address major health threats in Indonesia, says Deputy Health Minister Indonesia

[video] Stronger action against tobacco and NCDs is vital, Han Kosal, Deputy Governor, Kampong Cham, Cambodia

[video] Bogor City Mayor of Indonesia leads from the front to reduce tobacco use, prevent NCDs, TB, COVID-19

Connecting the dots with science: Latent TB, active TB disease, and integrated health and development responses