The Union joins the WHO’s TBTEAM network to strengthen country capacity in the fight against TB

The International Management Development Programme (IMDP) of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) ) has joined hands with the World Health Organization (WHO) TBTEAM network to support health systems strengthening by delivering accredited health management training courses. TBTEAM, the Tuberculosis Technical Assistance Mechanism, whose secretariat is hosted in the WHO Global TB Programme, is a global coalition of partners, countries and funding agencies, which aims to build up the national capacity of countries and focuses on assisting national TB programmes and other stakeholders in improving implementation of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund).

Best Practices in PMDT in India

[Report is online here] CNS with support from Lilly MDR TB Partnership visited 14 sites of Programmatic Management of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) in India and conducted key informant interviews on four key themes (counselling, infection control, diagnostics and laboratory services, and treatment and care services) and came up with specific recommendations. Those interviewed included patients of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), cured MDR-TB patients, their family members, nurses, laboratory technicians, scientists, physicians, home-based care workers, counsellors, among others. The report, was submitted to Planning Commission; Central TB Division of Government of India; among other authorities. It was also disseminated at 8th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ 2013) in Helsinki. Fifth part of this report also includes personal stories of MDR-TB and XDR-TB patients currently on treatment and cured MDR-TB patients.

5 years survival after lung cancer treatment remains low

Bobby Ramakant - CNS
Lung cancer is lurking around along with known risk factors such as tobacco smoke. Although with recent advancements in medical science 5 years survival rate for other forms of cancer has increased considerably yet the same remains as low as 14% for lung cancer patients since past two decades. Professor (Dr) Rajendra Prasad, Director of Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute (VPCI) was speaking to Citizen News Service - CNS before a lung cancer update in Delhi.

Indoor Air Pollution: The Air I Breathe

Alice Tembe - CNS 
The impact of indoor air quality, on airborne infections is often ignored or unknown even though it relates to the health of our lungs—one of the most vital organ of or bodies. Indoor air pollution arising out of inhaling solid cooking fuel smoke directly caused 3.5 million premature deaths in 2010 and 1.3 million children under 5 years of age died from pneumonia in 2011 according to UNCEF Reports of 2012. The WHO report of 2011 further confirms that three types of lung diseases have been shown to have a strong association with solid fuel smoke: acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs) in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) in women, and lung cancer in women exposed to coal smoke.

Clean cookstoves save lives, promote health

Bobby Ramakant - CNS 
Three billion people around the world still cook their daily meals with wood, charcoal, coal and other forms of solid fuel. According to the latest Global Burden of Disease update released in December 2012, resulting health impacts lead to four million deaths annually which after high blood pressure, alcohol and tobacco is the greatest killer in the world. In India at least over a million people died each year due to health impacts of using solid fuels for cooking (25% of the global burden) which is quite alarming and a significant problem in the country" said Sean Bartlett, Senior Communications Officer, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Breathe in… breathe out…

Carolyn Kavita Tauro - CNS
As we stand at a pedestrian crossing or walk by a bridge, and a vehicle passes by, letting out a cloud of smoke in our face, our immediate reaction is to fan it away with our hands. We are also quick to give the driver of the vehicle a stare and even make a comment about how unclean and unsafe the air in the atmosphere around us is.

Keep it Simple...

Sumita Thapar - CNS
Family planning is a key strategy for child survival, said Michael Stern, USAID India, in Delhi this week. “We look towards India as a development innovation hub,” he added. In Delhi this week, health practitioners, researchers and policy makers discussed how the Standard Days Method (SDM) for family planning fulfils an unmet need, specially in resource poor settings. The SDM is a simple fertility awareness-based method of family planning based on a woman`s menstrual cycle. Appropriate for women who usually have menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long, SDM identifies days 8 through 19 as the fertile days. To prevent pregnancy, the couple avoids unprotected sex on the fertile days.

Scaling up natural fertility awareness methods increases access to family planning

Bobby Ramakant - CNS
If women and girls, and their male partners where possible, are aware of fertility cycle, then it is very likely to increase access to existing family planning services, improve communication between partners, and help them prevent unintended pregnancies and space childbirths. Natural fertility awareness methods such as Standard Days Method (SDM) have proven to be effective. SDM has 95% effectiveness which is comparable to other family planning options. Most importantly, SDM users highlighted that one of the reasons they prefer SDM is because it has no side effects.

Major thrust to improve responses to non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are causing two-third of deaths worldwide. There is no doubt that latest launch of a robust programme to help civil society work on improving responses to NCDs is a welcome step forward. The NCD Alliance launched a new programme, formally called "Strengthening Health Systems, Supporting NCD Action" at The Economist event "New Approaches to Non-Communicable Diseases" in South Africa, where experts discussed strategies to accelerate the prevention and control of NCDs.

Safe air should be there for all of us to share

Shobha Shukla - CNS
Air, water and food are the 3 basic essentials (in that order) to sustain human life. One can stay without water and food for long periods but not without oxygen laden clean air even for a few moments. So breathing fresh air is essential to let us live to eat and drink and be merry. While we have the wherewithal to monitor and control the quality of what we eat or drink by using boiled/filtered water and hygienic food for our individual use, we cannot carry with us our personal container of purified air to breathe. The air around us (whether good or bad) has to be necessarily shared with others. Yet the importance of keeping it clean for all of us seems to have taken a backseat.

'Towards a nuclear-free world'

Bobby Ramakant - CNS
[Images] Leave aside safe nuclear waste disposal, we are not even able to take care of domestic waste on our roads, said retired Justice Rajinder Sachchar while speaking at a book launch held in New Delhi on 12th July 2013. A Hindi language book, ‘Towards A Nuclear-free World’, penned by Magsaysay Awardee, scientist and noted social activist Dr Sandeep Pandey and published by Vani Prakashan, was also released by two women activists from Kudankulam anti-nuclear struggle, Ms Immaculate and Ms Maryaselvi at this Delhi meet.

The global fight against tobacco must go on with renewed vigour

Shobha Shukla - CNS
The fourth WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, which was released recently in Panama City, shows that one-third of the world’s population – 2.3 billion people (from 92 countries) – are now covered by at least one of the 6 life-saving policy measures to curb tobacco use. This represents an increase of nearly 1.3 billion people (and 48 countries) in the past five years. This year’s report focuses on complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS), which is a highly effective way to reduce or eliminate exposure to cues for tobacco use.

AIDS Acitivists Call Upon The Indian Government to Address CD4 Kits Shortages

The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) is calling on the Health Ministry and National AIDS Control Organization’s (NACO) Director General to urgently address the stock out of CD4 kits and/or reagents in Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) centres in the North-East, UP, Maharastra, Delhi and other parts of the country. The never-say-die AIDS treatment activists are on an indefinite dharna (sit in strike) in front of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) office, New Delhi, from 9th July onwards till the CD4 laboratory services are resumed across the country. There seems to be a stock out of CD4 reagents in some North Eastern states of India.

Walk the talk: New WHO guidelines on HIV treatment and prevention

Bobby Ramakant - CNS
[हिन्दी] The new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on HIV treatment and prevention which were released at the 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Kuala Lumpur do provide hope that more people living with HIV will be able to live healthy - only if these guidelines get implemented in letter and spirit on the ground. "These guidelines are a landmark in the fight against AIDS," said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC. "But guidelines alone do not save lives - money, pills and smart programmes save lives. Investment and effective implementation will be critical."