Your Voices, Your Views: Global Fund Partnership Forum 2011

Suksma Ratri, Vladimir Encarnación Jáquez, Bobby Ramakant
The 4th Partnership Forum of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil (28-30 June 2011) where participants were interviewed on what does this Partnership Forum means to them in their local contexts in fighting the three diseases.

Nuclear Energy is dangerous and expensive: Opt for Clean Energy Options

LESSONS FROM JAPAN 2011 campaign
[Photos] The Lessons From Japan 2011 campaign reached Sherwood Inter College, Indira Nagar, Lucknow where former Physics faculty of Loreto Convent Inter College and noted social activist Shobha Shukla advocated for promoting the use of indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), solar, wind energy, biogas etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. "Although the Campaign realize that fossil fuel based method of energy production is also harmful contributing to global warming and ideally like European Union and Japan we should aim for a low-carbon energy production system. India’s future energy policy should be low carbon and no nuclear" said Shobha Shukla, who also edits CNS.

Stop The Heartbreak, Stop Smoking

A national tobacco control campaign called ‘Heartbreak’ was launched yesterday (28th July, 2011) in India to warn people about the dangers of bidi smoking. The campaign, developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with support from World Lung Foundation, graphically depicts a bidi smoker suffering a heart attack. It also shows the emotional heartbreak a family suffers when a loved one or the main wage earner dies from smoking. The nationwide campaign will be aired on all major TV and radio channels throughout August, 2011.

'We want nuclear-bomb-free and nuclear-energy-free World'

Lessons From Japan 2011 campaign reached Eram Convent Inter College, C-Block Indira Nagar, Lucknow, to raise awareness about nuclear radiation hazards, and promote dialogue and mobilize public opinion among young people for non-nuclear clean energy options. Lessons From Japan campaign will culminate on Hiroshima Day, the 6th August 2011 with a seminar at IMA Bhawan (9-1pm) which will bring together country’s noted experts on nuclear-radiation health hazards, clean energy and nuclear disarmament.

Aeras and China National Biotech Group Sign Memorandum of Understanding for TB Vaccine R&D Collaboration

 Aeras and the China National Biotech Group (CNBG) have signed a memorandum of understanding for the two organizations to pursue opportunities to jointly develop tuberculosis (TB) vaccines in China and potentially other parts of the world. The scope of potential activities will cover the full spectrum of product development, including pre-clinical development, process development and manufacturing, and clinical development in TB and potentially other disease areas.

Prof Rama Kant will receive honorary fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, UK

In June 2012, President-elect of Association of Surgeons of India Professor (Dr) Rama Kant will receive honorary fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, UK. Earlier in July 2010, Prof Rama Kant was awarded FRCSI without examination (by special election) by Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. Professor (Dr) Rama Kant was conferred upon the Fellowship by Special Election of the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCSI) on 12 July 2010.

WHO warns against the use of inaccurate blood tests for active tuberculosis

The use of currently available commercial blood (serological) tests to diagnose active tuberculosis often leads to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and potential harm to public health, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in a policy recommendation issued earlier this week. WHO is urging countries to ban the inaccurate and unapproved blood tests and instead rely on accurate microbiological or molecular tests, as recommended by WHO. These tests are available in 17 of the 22 countries with high burden of TB and in India alone it is estimated that 1.5 million of these tests are used, costing patients nearly US$15 million (Gernier 2011).

[Online consultation] Topic 1: Diverse Voices, United Action

The Citizen News Service (CNS) and SEA-AIDS eForum Resource Team have launched the topic 1 online consultation in lead up to the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (10th ICAAP). The Topic 1 is open for comments during 21-31 July 2011. The GUIDING QUESTION is: Who are the different partners/ stakeholders that should join hands in your local setting to improve HIV responses? Also share examples of best practices of local partnerships that are working. HAVE YOUR SAY!!! (send comment to

The War Against Tobacco: Better Late Than Never

The Chief Ministers of 12 states of India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttrakhand) have recently pledged their support to fight the growing menace of tobacco products like gutkha and khaini .
According to a release issued by the non-government organization Voluntary Health Association of India, “The Chief Ministers of these states were prompted into action when approached by doctors and victims of oral cancers in their respective states. They assured the victims of their commitment by signing a pledge which says --I will raise my voice against this issue and support all initiatives to rid India of this menace of gutka and khaini and help save millions of lives”.

New Investment Critical to Capitalize on HIV Prevention Research Breakthroughs

According to the latest  report ‘Capitalizing on Scientific Progress: Investment in HIV Prevention R&D in 2010’, released by the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group (comprising AVAC, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative IAVI, the International Partnership for Microbicides IPM, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS UNAIDS. , in Rome, at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, flexible, agile and generous funding structures are needed to ensure development and delivery of new lifesaving options for HIV prevention.

India failing to learn lessons from Japan

After nuclear emergency in Japan, some countries that have been brandishing nuclear power for energy, have learnt their lessons the hard and unfortunate way. Germany announced phasing out all nuclear power plants by 2022, converted one of its semi-finished nuclear power plant into an amusement park, and Germany and Japan both made their positions clear to go for clean energy options. India on another hand is jubilant to discover another uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh and all set to scale up nuclear power generation.

Depicting Tobacco Use In Films Adversely Influences Teenagers

A study titled “Tobacco use in Bollywood movies, tobacco promotional activities and their association with tobacco use among Indian adolescents” published recently in the British Medical Journal, explored the relation between watching tobacco use in Bollywood movies and tobacco use among Indian adolescents. The findings of the study, whose lead author is Dr Monika Arora, Head, Health Promotion and Tobacco Control, Public Health Foundation of India, confirmed that, "The odds of using tobacco once or more in a lifetime among students who were highly exposed to tobacco use occurrences in Bollywood films were found to be more than twice as compared to those with low exposure."

Drive homophobia out of Indian Health Ministry

According to a news published in The Hindu, the Indian Health Minister has denied that he referred to homosexuality as 'unnatural' or called it a 'disease.' In this age of social media, Mr Minister, video recording of the speech you gave is online here. Mr Minister, you clearly described homosexuality coming from foreign shores into India and also as unnatural (in Hindi language). India's Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad (source: Press Trust of India (PTI), 4 July 2011), had said: "Indian Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad described homosexuality as a "disease" and regretted that despite being "unnatural", it now afflicts a substantial number of people in India." As per this news,he added: "The disease of 'Men having Sex with Men' (MSM), which was found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country and there is a substantial number of such people in India."

Lucknow Declaration 2011 votes for nuclear-free, visa-free, clean energy policies in SAARC nations

[हिंदी] Lucknow Declaration 2011 endorsed by the 2nd Uttar Pradesh State Convention of Pak-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) on 10th July 2011 strongly voices need to establish a nuclear bomb-free, visa-free, and clean energy policies in the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations. Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey, senior Advocate Ravi Kiran Jain, Pakistan's noted human rights activist Saeeda Diep, senior social activist and former inspector-general of police SR Darapuri, Adviser to Right-to-food Commissioners appointed by Supreme Court Arundhati Dhuru, were among the prominent people present during its adoption.

Mutual trust between Indo-Pak people is the key to peace: Saeeda Diep

[Photos] "The diplomatic relations between two nations cannot last long if the contact between their people is hampered. It is the contact between people, cultural exchanges and mutual trust and understanding that keeps diplomatic ties intact. And this is exactly what we need to resume and strengthen between India and Pakistan," said Saeeda Diep, noted human rights activist from Pakistan, who leads Institute for Peace and Secular studies, in Lahore.

[Online consultation] What more should India do to stop smokeless and smoking tobacco use?

CNS Tobacco Control Initiative and Indian Society Against Smoking (ISAS) has launched a time-limited focused online consultation (16-31 July 2011). Dr Mira Aghi's article which is online here makes a strong case why India cannot neglect smokeless tobacco use while strengthening response to controlling smoking forms of tobacco. Guiding question is: What do you think are key measures India can take to improve responses to control all forms of tobacco - smokeless and smoking both?

"Ban all forms of tobacco - smokeless and smoking both": Experts

Tobacco control experts of the country have expressed their concern on the notified pictorial warnings for smoke tobacco. The experts feel that they are in no way an improvement on the existing ones. The Ministry of Health on occasions more than one has admitted that the existing warnings are ineffective. The newly notified ones will meet the same fate. We need stronger warnings for both smoke and smokeless tobacco. It is because all tobacco products are harmful.

2011 WHO Global Tobacco Epidemic Report: Warns About Dangers Of Tobacco Use

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011, which is the third in a series of WHO reports on the status of global tobacco control policy implementation. It tracks the status of the tobacco epidemic and the impact of interventions implemented to stop it.  “This report is a strong and important step in our ongoing measurement of what has been achieved in tobacco control and how much more countries need to do. We can and must continue this work – millions of people’s lives are at stake”, said Dr Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General World Health Organization.

Beware The Tobacco Bullies: Do Not Let Them Use Free Trade Agreements To Endanger Public Health

Tobacco giants, who always put profit ahead of lives and health, are invoking investor-state dispute mechanisms in bilateral investment agreements to challenge moves of governments which are aimed at controlling the widespread use of tobacco products. This scary development highlights the dangers of signing trade or investment treaties which could give corporations the right to sue governments over legitimate health or other public interest regulations.

New TB Vaccines: A matter of political will

TB vaccine research is moving forward steadily. In their 2010 annual report, the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) looks back at a scientifically successful year. Researchers within TBVI’s network are progressing towards new, safer and more effective tuberculosis vaccines. However, in order to successfully deliver these live-saving vaccines to the market, both political support and innovative investment are crucial. Worldwide, 12 vaccine candidates are now in various phases of clinical trials and several more are on their way. Many of these candidates received support through one of TBVI’s research projects. 

New TB Vaccines: A Reality In The Next Decade

Often thought to be a disease of the past, tuberculosis still kills around 1.7 million people per year. Worldwide, more than 9 million people become infected every year. Although TB mostly affects poor people in developing countries, it is prevalent in all continents, especially in Asia, Africa and Europe.Along with great human suffering the disease has serious financial consequences and hampers economic growth. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) that does not respond to the standard treatments using first-line drugs, is present in virtually all countries in the world. There were an estimated 440,000 new MDR-TB cases in 2008 with three countries accounting for over 50% of all cases globally: China, India and the Russian Federation.

Watch Your Tongue Mr Minister

India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, has landed himself in an unhealthy  soup (pun intended) and earned enough raps on the knuckles of his country, by his regressive statements. His sick proclamation at the recently held National Convention of Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS, which was attended by senior ministers, parliamentarians, and zila parishad chairpersons and mayors, invited a global outrage of indignations, and rightly so. He reportedly said that, "The disease of men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) is unnatural and not good for Indian society. It's a challenge to identify such people. In case of female sex workers, we can identify the community and reach out to them since they live in clusters. But in case of MSMs, it isn't always possible." According to our Health Minister, "this disease has come to India from foreign shores, and Indian society needs to be prepared to face it. Unfortunately, the number of ‘such people’ is increasing by the day."

Indian Health Minister risks receding gains made in realizing rights of same sex individuals

Sadly when the landmark Delhi High Court judgement on same sex behaviour has just completed 2 years day before yesterday, Indian Health Minister's statement (as per the news of Press Trust of India (PTI) published in The Times of India, 4 July 2011), risks RECEDING the gains we have made in terms of human rights, tolerance and right to dignity of life in the past years for people with varied sexual orientations. As per the news, "Indian Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad described homosexuality as a "disease" and regretted that despite being "unnatural", it now afflicts a substantial number of people in India." As per this news,he added: "The disease of 'Men having Sex with Men' (MSM), which was found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country and there is a substantial number of such people in India."

[Publications] Access,Accountability and Rights: Your Voices,Your Views on the Global Fund

[Download this publication in 4 languages here: English, Russian, Spanish and French]
As part of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) Partnership Forum consultations, nine Key Correspondents (KCs) from seven countries captured voices from the field in local contexts and produced articles and videos on specific themes. CNS and AIDS Portal led by Nadine Ferris France published select articles and released the publication in four languages at the Global Fund 2011 Partnership Forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil (28-30 June 2011). The publication in 4 languages is available online at: EnglishRussianSpanish and French.

[Publications] 2011 Global Fund Partnership Forum e-Consultations: Adding Your Voice to the Global Fund's 2012-2016 Strategy

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) supported a consultative process through online thematic consultations, survey and in-country interviews among other mechanisms, in lead up to the Partnership Forum 2011. It was managed by Nadine Ferris France along with AIDS Portal and CNS. The analytical report of the online consultation and survey "2011 Global Fund Partnership Forum e-Consultations: Adding Your Voice to the Global Fund's 2012-2016 Strategy" [English, French, Spanish, Russian] was released in 4 languages at the Global Fund 2011 Partnership Forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil (28-30 June 2011).

Tame Diabetes Before It Gets You

The Union Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad  recently announced a nationwide screening campaign under which every person above 30 years of age and all pregnant women will be tested for diabetes in a phased manner. In his inaugural address at the India Diabetes Summit, which was jointly organized by The Times of India, Britannia Industries, and National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation, New Delhi, he informed that, “Under the first phase, around 10 crore people in 100 districts of 21 states, and urban slums in 33 cities will be screened. This pilot project will cover more people than the population of many countries."

A Childhood Fraught With Dangers

"God has sent us on this earth for a picnic. Let us enjoy. Once it is over we all will have to go back." These pearls of wisdom are from 14 years old Mohd Enamul Hasan - a resident of Talchhadi village of Jessore district in Bangladesh, whose only dream is to get a passport and visit Darjeeling. Hasan is a God fearing boy, offering  Namaz five times a day. He is fond of cricket but can play only for two hours in a day. He does not think of befriending any girl because that would cause a deviation from work. He barely gets two-three days holiday in the whole month. The rest of the time he is busy working and earning money, in order to repay the loan of two lakh Takas (about Rs 1,20,000) taken by his father.