What’s Cooking In The Kitchen: Peace or Conflict?

I recently read about an innovative takeout restaurant in Pittsburgh, called Conflict Kitchen, which only serves cuisine from countries that the United States of America is in conflict with. This landmark eatery was begun by three Pittsburgh artists - Jon Rubin, Jon Pena and Dawn Weleski - who aptly call it a "public artwork experiment", with the objective "to see how we can get past the conflict that is going on between governments and introduce people to the everyday life and culture of these countries." Till now, it has featured dishes from Iran, Afghanistan and Venezuela, and future iterations hope to focus on North Korea, Cuba and other countries. This unique synthesis of food, art and sociology, is indeed a novel attempt in forging friendships between people of the so called enemy territories, by creating a platform for discussions of international conflict, culture, and politics over a meal.

If it is not A or B it must be C: A Stealthy Killer on the Prowl

Till the early 70s, nothing much was known about hepatitis C and it was called NANB (not A not B). Its genome could be cloned only in 1989. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has 6 different variants - genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Within each genotype are further divisions called subtypes and mutations of the hepatitis C virus called quasi species. This variability of the virus has made it difficult to treat it and to develop a vaccine that will protect against all strains of HCV.

People should court arrest in support of Anna's movement: Dr Sandeep Pandey

Photo credit: Jittima J - CNS
[हिंदी] Growing number of citizens are organizing themselves to support Anna Hazare, when he begins his fast tomorrow in Mumbai to strengthen his campaign against corruption. "We appeal to the citizens that when Anna Hazare sits on the fast in Mumbai then they should also organize a demonstration or a public fast in their local area and then court arrest at the district headquarters or nearest police station" said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and noted social activist with National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Asha Parivar and Lok Rajniti Manch.

ASICON video: Getting to Zero: Long road ahead for India's AIDS response [Part II]

ASICON video: Getting to Zero: Long road ahead for India's AIDS response [Part I]

Woman Empowerment Is Crucial In The War Against HIV/AIDS

It is being increasingly felt that women should be the focal point of all programmes targeted at achieving the goal of ‘getting to zero new infections, zero new deaths and zero discrimination in HIV/AIDS.’ Whether they are monogamous housewives, or sex workers or the partners of injecting drug users, they continue to remain the most at risk population. So their needs have to be addressed, and their capabilities harnessed, to prevent the spread of the disease. They will have to be considered as an integral part of the solution to the problem which is besetting not only millions of them but others too. India needs to focus more on women and prioritize their interests as human beings, in order to reach the Millennium  Development Goal of ‘getting to zero’.

Geting to ZERO: Long Road Ahead for India's AIDS programme

[हिंदी] [Photo] The CNS documentary film-maker and FM Radio Programme Producer from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Ms Jittima Jantanamalaka, interacted with Lucknow citizens after screening of her documentary film-series on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and chronic health conditions in Lucknow. Jittima serves as the Managing Director of the JICL Media and Communication Services Company, which also hosts the Citizen News Service (CNS).

Will A Global Funding Slowdown Push Back Health Programmes?

The global financial crisis has led to a slowdown in growth of funding to improve health in many developing countries. According to new research findings from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, “Stagnating funding from the United States and shortfalls at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) indicate troubled future for development assistance for health, raising the possibility that developing countries will have an even harder time meeting the Millennium Development Goal deadline looming in 2015.”

Luther L Terry Award to Dr Mira B Aghi

One of the most respected and senior tobacco control advocates Dr Mira B Aghi has been rightly chosen to be conferred upon the 2012 Luther L Terry Award, for her outstanding community service. Dr Aghi has been on the forefront of the fight against the big tobacco. She has led the tobacco control movement in India and also been involved with tobacco control Internationally.

Oh To be Born Free - Without the Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Every child has the right to be born HIV negative, even though one or both of the parents may be living with HIV. According to the UNAIDS 2011 report, there has been a 50% decline in the number of new HIV infections in India which fell from 2.4% to around 1.21% in 2009. Yet we are far from achieving the UNAIDS goal of zero new infections, zero deaths and zero discrimination by 2015. These goals were also at the centre of scientific deliberations at the ongoing 4th National Conference of AIDS Society of India (ASICON), which is being held at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, from 16th to 18th December.

National AIDS Conference opens in SGPGI Lucknow

[हिंदी] The 4th National Conference of AIDS Society of India (ASICON) was inaugurated by Dr RK Sharma, Director, Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) and Dr Hoosen Coovadia, South Africa and Dr Mark Wainberg, former President, International AIDS Society (IAS) today at the SGPGIMS Convention Centre. Dr Ishwar S Gilada, Chair of ASICON and Secretary General of AIDS Society of India (ASI), Dr JK Maniar, President, ASI and Dr Tapan Dhole, Professor and Head, Department of Microbiology and Co-Chair of ASICON also graced the inauguration.

Coordinated and locally supported AIDS response is warranted in India

AIDS conference to open in SGPGI Lucknow: 16-18 Dec
[हिंदी] The 4th National Conference of AIDS Society of India (ASICON) will take place in Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) Convention Centre during 16-18 December 2011. Dr Ishwar S Gilada, Chair of the 4th ASICON said that this congress will bring together 15 international medical experts and 70 national medical experts who will be speaking on issues related to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. More than 150 doctors including those from rural parts of the country have received scholarship support to attend this academic congress on clinical management of HIV.

New pictorial warnings MISSING on tobacco packets

[हिंदी] Although since 1st December 2011, all tobacco packs sold in India must be carrying stronger and more effective pictorial health warnings as per the new notification issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, vide Gazette of India notification (dated 27 May 2011), as per the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003), many tobacco packets sold in Lucknow are NOT carrying these new powerful warnings, rather have the old warning labels.

Peace and democracy issues to be in spotlight when people from Pakistan and India meet in Allahabad

[हिंदी] 8th joint convention of India and Pakistan chapters of PIPFPD in Allahabad
The 8th joint convention of India and Pakistan chapters of Pak-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) is scheduled to be held during 29-31 December 2011 in Allahabad, UP, India, said Mr Irfan Ahmad, senior Vice President of PIPFPD (UP State chapter) in a press conference at UP Press Club.

FDI in Retail without Enhanced Social Security will be Suicidal

A lot of well off and educated sections of our society are rooting for FDI in retail.  There seems to be a disappointment among the middle/upper middle class consumers and the corporate world that the Government of India has put this policy on hold. There was an article published in The Telegraph on 5th December 2011 titled “How Bengal gains from FDI: Experiment that protected 6500 farmers from a curse.”

A Healthy Childhood Means A Tobacco Free Childhood

Life seems to have come full circle for Aamir Khan, the much acclaimed Bollywood star, who after being named the brand ambassador in July 2011, of the Women and Child Development Ministry, for spreading the message of curbing malnutrition among children and mothers, was recently appointed, in November 2011, as the national brand ambassador of UNICEF, to promote Child Nutrition and Child Rights. This has raised a few eyebrows in view of the fact that the same Aamir Khan had earlier endorsed a soft drink brand, despite several studies pointing to the health hazards of cola drinks for children. This is what he had to say in his defence, “I don’t have a tainted past. I haven’t done any work till date that would hurt anyone… at least not deliberately. But, if anyone still got hurt then I’d just say sorry to them from the bottom of my heart. I did that ad long time ago. I don’t even endorse the brand anymore.”

Sing for those who are voiceless

On World AIDS day, 1st December 2011, a program 'Sing For Those Who Are Voiceless' was organized by Maan AIDS Foundation, to celebrate their achievements of the past one year in bringing vulnerable and voiceless communities together to fight AIDS. The foundation shared its one year's progress report of the work it has done under the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund)'s Regional Project programme. This project has helped in strengthening community based organizations in the country with a view to integrate the most at risk populations of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) with the existing HIV/AIDS control and treatment programmes of the government.

Celebrating life in a positive way

As we once again commemorated World AIDS Day on 1st December 2011, it is time to share the joys and sorrows of people living with HIV (PLHIV) with a positive attitude. It is also high time that instead of targeting the affected population, we sensitize the so called unaffected populations (those who are not living with the disease and do not belong to high risk groups), so that they become more aware of this once dreaded disease and stop treating those living with it as untouchables. Of course a lot of water has flown since the first case of HIV was detected in India in 1986, and the tag of ‘killer’ attached to the disease has been replaced by ‘chronic’. We now talk of people living with HIV and not people suffering from HIV.

World AIDS day 2011: Want to get to zero? Deal with TB!

A giant condom will be 'wrapped' around the Dutch Munt Tower in Amsterdam this week. It’s probably one of the more striking activities that will mark World AIDS Day. Meetings, film-viewings, theatre plays, articles, brochures and many other happenings will call upon people to join the fight against AIDS. To effectively fight AIDS though, we need to also fight tuberculosis. 'Getting to zero' is this year’s theme for World AIDS Day.